Big news today. Choi Kang-Hee released his call-ups for the final three matches of qualifying for Brazil. With a couple big players not called up.
The big news. Before you see the list. Ki Sung-Yueng AND Koo Ja-Cheol are not being called. Both suffered injuries, and are in the process of recovering. Ki Sung-Yueng has missed the last several Swansea games, but Koo Ja-Cheol did return to action last week against Bayern Munich. More discussion below, after the list.
GK: Kim Young-Kwang (Ulsan Hyundai), Jung Sung-Ryong (Suwon Samsung), Lee Bum-Young (Busan IPark)
DF: Kim Chi-Woo (FC Seoul), Park Joo-Ho (FC Basel), Jung In-Hwan (Jeonbuk Motors), Kim Ki-Hee (Al Saliya), Kwak Tae-Hwi (Al-Shabab), Jang Hyun-Soo (FC Tokyo), Kim Young-Kwon (Gwangzhao), Shin Kwang-Hoon (Pohang Steelers), Kim Chang-Soo (Kashiwa Reysol)
MF: Lee Myeong-Joo, Hwang Ji-Soo (Pohang Steelers), Han Kook-Young (Shonan Bellmare), Lee Keun-Ho (Sangju Sangmu), Ji Dong-Won (Augsburg), Kim Nam-Il (Incheon United), Lee Seung-Gi (Jeonbuk Motors), Park Jong-Woo (Busan IPark), Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton), Son Heung-Min (Hamburg SV), Kim Bo-Kyung (Cardiff City)
FW: Kim Shin-Wook (Ulsan Hyundai), Lee Dong-Gook (Jeonbuk Motors)
A more detailed analysis of the call-ups will be up later, but just some first impressions and thoughts from the call-ups list and what I gleaned from Choi Kang-Hee’s press conference (readable here, but only in Korean).
The loss of both Ki Sung-Yueng and Koo Ja-Cheol is huge. Not just because of their talent, but also because of their experience and leadership roles. From a playing perspective, it also robs us of our central midfield spine.
Park Chu-Young misses out again, although it’s significantly less surprising considering he’s injured and (still) out of form. Only two strikers, Kim Shin-Wook and Lee Dong-Gook. Kim Shin-Wook was hugely ineffective against Qatar, which leads me to suspect we’ll see Lee Dong-Gook again.
The midfield will be interesting to see who will start. Lee Chung-Yong and Lee Keun-Ho seem to be good bets. Lee Myeong-Joo of Pohang got mentioned a bit in the presser, which leads me to think that Choi Kang-Hee is looking at him to take, likely, Koo Ja-Cheol’s spot. Personally, I would rather see Kim Bo-Kyung take it. The inclusion of Kim Nam-Il was quite surprising. A veteran player, who did well at the 2002 World Cup (no, that’s not a typo), and has 97 caps to his name. But hasn’t played for the senior squad since 2010, and is 36 years old. Choi Kang-Hee was asked about his inclusion, and said that he’s done well with Incheon, and that he expects that he could handle the three games (and that he’s not a single game idea). Park Jong-Woo was also called, but will need to serve the last match of his ban for his Olympics incident. No one really jumps out at me as someone who can replace Ki Sung-Yueng though.
Defense is largely a list of the usual suspects. Park Joo-Ho returns to the fold after a decent run out with Basel, as does Kim Young-Kwon. However gone, are the two full backs from the Qatar match, Oh Beom-Seok and Park Won-Jae. Generally expect Kim Chang-Soo and Park Joo-Ho to replace them.
Other thoughts from Choi’s presser. It seems he thought of calling Ki and Koo, but felt that the team couldn’t wait and rely on them being fit in time. He also expressed concern about whether they would be fit enough to play three high-intensity matches in a short span of time. Those two reasons are what he gave for why he didn’t call them. The way he talked about Kim Nam-Il and Lee Myeong-Joo leads me to think they’ll both start and play. I also don’t think that Son Heung-Min will start. A reporter asked about him, and Choi seemed a bit hesitant. He praised what he’s done in Germany, but said that things are different against the other Asian teams, and some other diplomatic coaches talk that usually mean, “he’s good and I know people want him to start, but don’t get your hopes up.”
My first glance thoughts on a starting XI versus Lebanon
Lee Seung-Gi / Lee Keun-Ho / Lee Myeong-Jin / Lee Chung-Yong
Park Joo-Ho / Jung In-Hwan / Kwak Tae-Hwi / Kim Chang-Soo
More thoughts later, and in more detail.
Thoughts on the qualifiers? On the call-ups? Should Choi have called Ki Sung-Yueng and Koo Ja-Cheol in case they recover in time or to use them sparingly? Was someone called who shouldn’t have been? Someone who wasn’t called and should have? Who would you start based on the call-ups? Share your thoughts (you know you want to) in the comments!