This morning men’s national team manager, Shin Taeyong, and women’s national team manager, Yoon Deokyeo, announced their respective squads for next month’s EAFF E-1 Championship (formerly known as the East Asian Cup) in Japan. For those unfamiliar with the tournament a quick primer on the rules. The tournament is a regional competition between East Asian nations. The full tournament consists of three rounds – two qualifying rounds plus the championship round. The hosts, this time Japan, automatically qualify, as do the top two ranked sides. For the men, that would be South Korea and China. For the women, that was China and North Korea. The fourth team to qualify for the final round is the side to top the second-round of qualification. For the men, that was North Korea. For the women it was South Korea. In reality, the tournament is basically always a four-team event between those four sides (South Korea, China, Japan, and North Korea). The rules for squad lists is that players most play their club football in one of the EAFF nations, so for Korea that means they are K League, J League, or Chinese Super League players. So, who made the squad? See the list after the jump.
South Korea’s 2017 EAFF E-1 Squad List
Goalkeeper: Kim Seunggyu (Vissel Kobe, Japan); Kim Jinhyeon (Cerezo Osaka, Japan); Cho Hyunwoo (Daegu FC, Korea)
Defenders: Jang Hyunsoo (FC Tokyo, Japan); Kwon Kyungwon (Tianjin Quanjian, China); Jung Seunghyun (Sagan Tosu, Japan); Yoon Youngsun (Sangju Sangmu, Korea); Kim Minjae (Jeonbuk Hyundai, Korea); Kim Jinsu (Jeonbuk Hyundai, Korea); Ko Yohan (FC Seoul, Korea); Kim Minwoo (Suwon Samsung, Korea); Choi Chulsoon (Jeonbuk Hyundai, Korea)
Midfielders: Jung Wooyoung (Chongqing Lifan, China); Ju Sejong (FC Seoul, Korea); Kim Sungjun (Seongnam FC, Korea); Lee Jaesung (Jeonbuk Hyundai, Korea); Lee Myungju (FC Seoul, Korea); Lee Changmin (Jeju United, Korea); Lee Keunho (Gangwon FC, Korea); Yun Illok (FC Seoul, Korea); Yeom Kihun (Suwon Samsung, Korea)
Forwards: Jin Seonguk (Jeju United, Korea); Lee Jeonghyeop (Busan IPark, Korea); Kim Shinwook (Jeonbuk Hyundai, Korea)
Shin Taeyong’s squad is full of mostly familiar faces to those who have watched the senior national team. Both Kim Seunggyu and Kim Jinhyeon are national team veterans while Cho Hyunwoo made his senior bow against Serbia in the most recent international break.
The defensive line is also familiar to Korean fans. Youngster Jung Seunghyun has yet to make his bow for the senior side, but he has been a regular at youth levels. Yoon Youngsun, currently doing his military time with Sangju, returns to the national team setup. All others are well known to the senior line.
Midfield strikes a similar tone with a couple new faces in Seongnam’s Kim Sungjun and Jeju’s Lee Changmin. Yun Illok also makes a return to the senior side after a lengthy absence out.
The only new face in the forward line is Jeju’s Jin Seonguk.
How Shin Taeyong lines up his team will likely depend on whether he is focused on preparing his likely starters for next summer’s World Cup or whether he is testing some of the fringe players. Given the strong ‘veteran’ flavor in this squad the former seems more likely, so I would expect to see something like: Kim Seunggyu; Choi Chulsoon, Jang Hyunsoo, Kwon Kyoungwon, Kim Jinsu; Lee Changmin, Jung Wooyoung, Ju Sejong, Lee Jaesung; Lee Keunho, Lee Jeonghyeop.
Kim Seunggyu, Jang Hyunsoo, Kim Jinsu, and Lee Jaesung are likely all locks for the World Cup starting XI. Choi Chulsoon, Jung Wooyoung, Lee Keunho, and Lee Jeonghyeop are all highly likely to make the trip as well. Depending on his fitness, I would say Kim Minjae edges Kwon Kyoungwon, but with the Jeonbuk defender still recovering from an injury, Shin Taeyong will likely go with a more fit Kwon.. Lee Changmin, while he hasn’t played for the senior side, seems to be the most like-for-like replacement for the role Kwon Changhoon plays for Korea on the right (although Yun Illok would probably also suffice). Ju Sejong, while a massive drop-off from Ki Sungyueng, is probably the only close replacement for that deeper role (Lee Myungju would offer a more dynamic, box-to-box option).
Speaking to the media, Shin commented on his selection of a few of the players. Former captain Kim Younggwon (Guangzhou Evergrande) was left off the roster (he is on the standby list). Shin commented that Kim seemed to suffer a lot psychologically in the recent friendlies, and as such his performance suffered a lot against Serbia. Shin was also questioned on the inclusion of Jeonbuk defender Kim Minjae, who is currently injured. Shin said that Kim Minjae is jogging and beginning his recovery, but that he thinks he can still be helpful. Another defender, Yoon Youngsun, may require surgery, and if he does he will be removed from the squad and a replacement called up.
Goalkeepers: Kang Gaae (Gumi Sportstoto), Kim Jungmi (Incheon Hyundai), Kim Minjung (Suwon FMC)
Defenders: Kim Hyeri (Incheon Hyundai), Shin Damyoung (Suwon FMC), Kim Sunju (Incheon Hyundai), Lee Eunmi (Suwon FMC), Kim Doyeon (Incheon Hyundai), Park Chorong (Hwacheon KSPO), Jang Seulgi (Incheon Hyundai)
Midfielders: Lee Youngju (Incheon Hyundai), Lee Mina (Incheon Hyundai), Lee Sodam (Gumi Sportstoto), Choi Yuri (Gumi Sportstoto), Kang Yumi (Hwacheon KSPO), Lee Jungeun (Hwacheon KSPO), Cho Sohyun (Incheon Hyundai), Jang Chang (Korea University), Son Yoonhee (Hwacheon KSPO)
Fowards: Jung Seolbin (Incheon Hyundai), Yoo Younga (Gumi Sportstoto), Han Chaerin (Uiduk University), Son Hwayeon (Korea University)
Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot about the current state of the women’s team nor the WK League, so I cannot offer much commentary on them (missed the recent friendlies against the US due to work). But, it should be a stiff test for the ladies as China, North Korea, and Japan are all very strong opponents.