‘Road to Qatar’ Klinsmann’s competition begins

The ‘Road to Qatar’ journey of the national soccer team led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann (59) has begun in earnest. Fierce internal competition is expected for the next seven months. 

Klins Manho gathered at the Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 12th and started training for the first time in preparation for the two consecutive A-matches (Peru and El Salvador) in June. Coach Klinsman said on the day, “(This time) we will see the will and passion of the players. I hope you prove yourself on the field how much you want to go to Qatar.” 

Coach Klinsman, who took over the baton last March, closely observed domestic and foreign players for three months before forming a roster for the second consecutive match in June. This is how Klins Manho’s ‘real first season’ was born. 

From this call, we will immediately start preparing for the Asian Cup to be held in Qatar seven months later. For the players who were called by coach Klinsmann, the two consecutive games and the upcoming A-match schedule are a kind of audition. You can go to Qatar only if you are in the eyes of coach Klinsman. 스포츠토토

Compared to three months ago, the June roster has changed significantly. Defensive nucleus Kim Min-jae (Napoli) missed out due to basic military training, and existing resources such as center back Kim Young-gwon (Ulsan Hyundai), midfielder Jung Woo-yeong (Al Sadd) and Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai) left due to injury. 

Hyeon-seok Hong (KAA Gent), Doo-jae Won (Senior Director Gimcheon), Seung-hyeon Jung (Ulsan), and Kyu-hyeon Park (Dinamo Dresden) newly joined the team. Especially for the defenders who were selected this time, it is a big opportunity. Including Seol Young-woo (Ulsan), who was replaced by Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk) due to a back injury in March, 6 out of 8 players on the defense list in June are new faces.

In the former national team manager system, Paulo Bento, Kim Jin-soo, Kim Young-kwon, Kim Min-jae, and Kim Moon-hwan (Jeonbuk) were the main members. If the newcomers to the national team show competitiveness, there is a good chance of a change in perception. The central defense line is likely to go to a combination of Kim Min-jae and Kim Young-kwon for the time being, but competition to occupy the remaining positions is expected to be fierce. 

There was no change in the position of the forward striker, who drew attention. Joo Min-gyu (Ulsan, 10 goals), who is running for the top scorer in the K-League 1, was ignored again this time, and Ui-jo Hwang (FC Seoul), Kyu-seong Cho (Jeonbuk), and Hyun-gyu Oh (Celtic) were chosen by coach Klinsman once again. 

Initially, in the competition between the three strikers, Oh Hyun-gyu, who made a soft landing on the Scottish stage, seemed to be ahead. In the meantime, Hwang Ui-jo and Cho Kyu-seong were silent in the K-League. However, right before the national team was summoned, Hwang Eui-jo and Cho Kyu-seong tasted the goal side by side, predicting a hot competition for the starting lineup.

‘Ace’ Son Heung-min (Tottenham), who will lead the national team’s attack, has a variable. It was reported that he underwent a sports hernia surgery at the end of last month. The Korea Football Association said in a phone call with this magazine on the 13th, “Son Heung-min underwent a light sports hernia surgery in England last May. The player himself is full of will to participate, but it has not been decided whether he will participate.” Son Heung-min normally participated in the training program on the 12th and 13th, but it is known that he was excluded from some training sessions. 

It is a factor to watch which of the gatekeepers Kim Seung-gyu (Al Shabab) and Jo Hyun-woo (Ulsan), who have competed in good faith since 2017, will capture the heart of coach Klinsman. The two guarded Korea’s goal for one game each in two A-matches in March. 

The race to Qatar has already begun. Coach Klinsman emphasized, “I think it will be important for me, the coaching staff, and the fans to show the will, passion, and fighting spirit of the players wanting to go to Qatar.” Korea will play Peru (Busan) on the 16th and El Salvador (Daejeon) on the 20th.

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