Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fresh Looking Korean Squad Ready To Face UAE

Fresh Looking Korean Squad Ready To Face UAE.
It is an interesting and, one can almost say, exciting squad. It is customary to bash the national team coach of South Korea after he announces every important roster but ahead of the 2010 World Cup qualifier in the United Arab Emirates on June 6, Huh Jung-moo looks to have done a good job.

Of course, naming the roster is only the first step towards completing the main job of taking the Taeguk Warriors to Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai and getting the three points that will put the 2002 semi-finalists on the brink of a place in South Africa in 12 months’ time.

In his 18 months as coach, Huh has demonstrated repeatedly that he is happy to give young players a chance if they are playing well in the K-League and he has done that once again. Three new faces have been called in the 25-man squad, some of which will gather in the National Football Center in Paju on May 28 before jetting off to the Gulf two days later where they will be joined by European-based stars such as Park Ji-sung, Cho Won-hee and Lee Young-pyo.

These are important times for South Korean football. Much attention this week will be on the appearance of Park in the UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona for Manchester United. But for the long-term good of soccer in Korea, a 2010 World Cup spot is absolutely vital.

Medhi Mahdavikia, a veteran star of Iran, Korea’s rivals in Group Two, told reporters recently about Iran’s quest to reach South Africa. He could have been talking about Korea.

"The presence in the World Cup is the dream of all our players and Iranian football fans. This could be extremely beneficial for our football. I believe that fate of our football in the next four years will depend on our qualification to World Cup,” said the man known as ‘Kia’.

With baseball in the ascendancy in the Land of the Morning Calm, not appearing at the biggest sporting event in the world would be a blow for the domestic scene in Korea. Media attention is massive, fans are born and stars are made.

One could be young Yoo Byung-soo. The Incheon United striker started his professional career just this season but a series of good performances in the k-league. At 21 years of age, he has caught the eye of coach Huh and will be on the plane to Dubai, and if things go well, South Africa.

“I received the news by phone. It still doesn’t seem real and I can’t stop smiling,” Yoo told local media upon hearing the news.

“I saw the reports in the media talking about the chance of my selection but there are so many good players that I honestly didn’t have big hopes of being chosen.If I am given the opportunity, I will do my best to help the national team.

“I want to play alongside players like Park Ji-sung, Lee Young-pyo and Cho Won-hee. Just thinking about training with these players makes me nervous.”

There are many examples in history of youngsters coming into the team at crucial moments and making an immediate impact. Park Chu-young is the most recent. The 23 year-old, now with AS Monaco in Europe, scored a vital goal in his first game back in 2005. It came in the last minute of a 2006 World Cup qualifier in Uzbekistan.

That gave Korea a 1-1 tie and meant that a win in the following game in Kuwait would seal a spot in Germany. Park scored the first as Kuwait was duly dispatched.
Few would complain if Yoo, or even Park, did something similar.

Three points in Dubai would leave South Korea needing just a point to be certain of a seventh successive place on the global stage.

South Korea squad:


Goalkeepers: Lee Woon-jae (Suwon Samsung Bluewings), Kim Young-kwang (Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i), Jung Sung-ryong (Seongnam lhwa Chunma);

Defenders: Cho Yong-hyung (Jeju United), Lee Jung-su (Kyoto Purple Sanga), Kim Hyung-il (Pohang Steelers), Kim Keun-hwan (Yokohama F Marinos), Lee Kang-jin (Busan I'Park), Kim Chang-soo (Busan I'Park), Kim Dong-jin (Zenit St Petersburg), Oh Beom-seok (Samara Kriliya Sovetov), Lee Young-pyo (Borussia Dortmund);

Midfielders: Cho Won-hee (Wigan Athletic), Kim Jung-woo (Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma), Ki Sung-yeung (FC Seoul), Lee Chung-yong (FC Seoul), Kim Chi-woo (FC Seoul), Park Ji-sung (Manchester United), Choi Tae-uk (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Bae Ki-jong (Suwon Samsung Bluewings);

Forwards: Lee Keun-ho (Jubilo Iwata), Park Chu-young (AS Monaco), Shin Young-rok (Bursaspor), Yoo Byung-su (Incheon United), Yang Dong-hyeon (Busan I'Park)

Copyright: John Duerden & Soccerphile.com


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