Forgot to do this following the Greece game, but figure it’s worth a look at how the World Cup roster may be shaking out. Hong Myeong-Bo has said that the 30-man preliminary roster is 90% complete, although it seems like he’s been saying that for a while now.
In: Jung Sung-Ryong, Kim Seung-Gyu
Likely: Lee Bum-Young
On the fringes: Kim Jin-Hyeon
Not much change in the goalkeeping position. Jung Sung-Ryong and Kim Seung-Gyu are locks, and for me (with my admitted bias) Lee Bum-Young is still the likely candidate for the third spot. Kim Jin-Hyeon has made a late push, but I feel that Lee’s history with Hong and his recent penalty heroics for Busan keep him in the lead (slightly). As for the starting spot, Kim Seung-Gyu has edged ahead in early K League action.
In: Lee Yong
On the fringes: Kim Chang-Soo, Cha Du-Ri
Lee Yong remains the hard favorite for starting at rightback, but his backup is very much in the air. Kim Chang-Soo’s long-term injury has paved the way for a slightly resurgent Cha Du-Ri. Cha has been decent for Seoul, while Kim is still working his way back into the Kashiwa Reysol team. Time favors Cha at the moment, should Hong take either.
In: Kim Jin-Su
Likely: Yoon Suk-Young
On the fringes: Park Joo-Ho
I know many want Park Joo-Ho to go, and I believe he deserves it, but I don’t get the feeling that Hong is too high on the Mainz player. Yoon Suk-Young’s recent showings for QPR have opened the window for him to go, but he’ll need to continue to play here and there for Hong to bring him. With all the uncertainty surrounding those two, Kim Jin-Su remains the favorite to start, despite some poor recent showings.
In: Kim Young-Gwon, Hong Jeong-Ho, Hwang Seok-Ho
Likely: Kwak Tae-Hwi
On the fringes: Kim Ju-Young, Kim Ki-Hee
Kim Young-Gwon and Hong Jeong-Ho remain locks for the starting spots, and Hwang Seok-Ho and Kwak Tae-Hwi will likely go if healthy. If one of them suffers a long-term injury and looks to miss, expect Hong to turn to Seoul’s Kim Ju-Young or Jeonbuk’s Kim Ki-Hee as a backup option.
In: Ki Sung-Yueng, Han Kook-Young
Likely: Park Jong-Woo, Ha Dae-Sung
On the fringes: Lee Myeong-Joo
There are probably no doubts about Ki and Han’s role within the team, and Hong seems to have settled on them to start as the two deeper midfielders. Park Jong-Woo and Ha Dae-Sung haven’t had brilliant (as far as I know) starts to life in China, but they remain the favorites for back up spots. Hong seems to like Park’s versatility, and Ha can bring some seniority and leadership to the position. Lee Myeong-Joo has been good for Pohang thus far, but Hong doesn’t seem to be a huge fan.
In: Koo Ja-Cheol, Kim Bo-Kyung
On the fringes: ?
The number 10 role seems pretty locked down with Koo and Kim there. Koo, being Hong’s captain of choice, will be the starter. Kim a backup. Barring injury to both of them, there isn’t a need for another number 10. Should an injury occur Hong would likely rotate in a forward (deep) or wide midfielder.
In: Son Heung-Min, Lee Chung-Yong, Lee Keun-Ho
Likely: Nam Tae-Hee
On the fringes: Yoon Il-Rok, Go Yo-Han
Son Heung-Min and Lee Chung-Yong will start on the left and right wings respectively. Lee Keun-Ho would likely be the sub for either of them for whatever reason. Nam Tae-Hee seems to have taken a small lead in the race between him and Yoon Il-Rok for another reserve spot, although Yoon has been decent for Seoul lately. Yoon could catch up as the K League continues and the Qatari Stars League shuts down for the season (in April). Go Yo-Han shouldn’t make it, but he seems to be in Hong’s mind (maybe makes the 30 but not the 23).
In: Park Chu-Young, Kim Shin-Wook
Likely: Ji Dong-Won
On the fringes: ?
How time has changed for the forward picture. Park Chu-Young made his dramatic return against Greece and scored. He then got injured and has not appeared for new club Watford since. Either way Park will make the trip to Brazil. Kim Shin-Wook, despite not impressing in Taeguk Warrior red, has been very impressive in Ulsan Hyundai blue. So, “The Wookie” will journey to Brazil as well. Ji Dong-Won, despite bouncing around Europe, will likely go due to his versatility.
Jae’s 23 man list
GK: Jung Sung-Ryong, Kim Seung-Gyu, Lee Bum-Young
RB: Lee Yong
CB: Kim Young-Gwon, Hong Jeong-Ho, Hwang Seok-Ho, Kwak Tae-Hwi
LB: Kim Jin-Su, Yoon Suk-Young
CM: Ki Sung-Yueng, Han Kook-Young, Park Jong-Woo, Ha Dae-Sung
AM: Koo Ja-Cheol, Kim Bo-Kyung
WM: Son Heung-Min, Lee Chung-Yong, Lee Keun-Ho, Nam Tae-Hee
ST: Park Chu-Young, Kim Shin-Wook, Ji Dong-Won
Hong’s preference for Yoon Suk-Young sees him edge Park Joo-Ho out by the slimmest of margins. With Kim Chang-Soo recovering from injury and Cha Du-Ri not able to make the Greece game, Hong decides to stick with the players he knows and utilizes Hwang Seok-Ho as a spare centerback and rightback, which also allows him to stock up on midfielders which is probably the team’s key area.