Happy Independence Day! Happy Gwangbokjeol! Korea celebrates 72 years to the day they became free of the chains of Japanese colonialism. The horrible years of Japanese occupation and oppression can be revisited in a number of way, including the new film “Battleship Island,” (now in theaters in the U.S. – I just saw it last week, which happened to be my first Korean film ever viewed in an American theater).
Onto Korean ballers in Europe as a new dawn and season begins again for Koreans in flighted teams across Europe. We’re a week late as Ligue 1 already started the previous week, though EPL just got rolling (and Germany’s Bundesliga starts anew next weekend). Kwon Chang-Hoon has been starting and playing well in the 2 matches for Dijon (as you’ll see soon in a video highlight below) and Hwang Hee-Chan already has domestic and European goals in his RB Salzburg account. But better late than never, here’s this past weekend’s roundup summary:
Ki Sung-Yeung out injured in Swansea’s 0-0 result at Southampton
Lee Chung-Yong unused sub in Crystal Palace’s 0-3 home loss to newly promoted Huddersfield
Son Heung-Min came in in the 58th minute for Sissoko, Spurs beat Newcastle 0-2 (played far better than expected for having his arm in a cast after breaking it in a WCQ last June – more on that later).
Kwon Chang-Hoon 90 minutes as Dijon lost 1-4 against Monaco. Looked lively, 3 shots on goal, a goal ruled back for offsides (though you’ll see in replay that he was very much onsides), was one of Dijon’s better players on the field in spite of the loss.
Hwang Hee-Chang 57 minutes for RB Salzburg in a 0-1 victory at Rheindorf Altrach
Koo Ja-Cheol subbed in the 73rd minute for Augsburg in a 1st round DfB Pokal Cup loss 2:0 to Magdeburg
Ji Dong-Won out injured for Augsburg
Quick notes :
Surprise appearance by Son, who came off the bench and played well despite being in a cast – replacing Sissoko who is still struggling with his form for Tottenham. It probably wasn’t a surprise Spurs scored afterwards (and of course Jonjo Shelvey’s red card played a role no doubt). Still, Son looked pretty good out there, cycling the ball, good passing vision and importantly, making good decisions period – evidenced with threading a superb ball to Kane (who just can’t score in the month of August apparently – he hit the far post). Son had another opportunity at the close of the game, found Kane and he found the back of the net but just ruled offsides by a hair.
[Thanks to Heon for this and the following 2 highlights]!
Kwon, as mentioned before, has looked impactful for Dijon. And as mentioned previously, he should’ve been on the scoreboard -but it looks clearly like he’s onsides, take a look, here’s his highlight reel vs Monaco:
New Crystal Palace manager Frank De Boer has a choice to make as winger Wilfred Zaha now injured and expected to be out for 4 weeks. One option: Lee Chung-Yong, aka the Blue Dragon. He looked good in a friendly with Schalke just last week:
With Yun Suk-Young and Kim Jin-Su back east and Park Joo-Ho out in left field for BVB, there’s a lack of Korean defenders in Europe at the moment. Hopefully that will change… at some point we’ll take a look at some Koreans who just made it over to Europe, including…
— Viva La K-League (@kleagueno1) August 11, 2017
And news from earlier this summer: Incheon youth player Jeong Woo-Young will join Bayern Munich’s U19 squad on January 1, 2018 (can’t join yet due to his being just under 18). After a successful trial, Bayern considered a loan spell, but instead opted to outright buy him (reportedly in the €700k range) from Incheon United. According to the club’s website, Jeong is the first Korean to play for Bayern Munich.
Side Note: The future of the Tavern: during a break recording a podcast last month, the Tavern writers and contributors discussed what the Tavern will look like in the coming months. As many longtime Tavern goers can observe, the pace of the posts have been slowing down. Many of us are in the thick of joining post graduate schools, or in the case of the old Tavern owner, having to deal with a new career and family obligations (and a super long process in making a documentary of my dad’s family’s escape from North Korea during the war). That has not diminished our love for Korean football and the players plying the trade in Korea and abroad. It does mean a new reality. Most stories have a linear beginning and end. I suspect the end will not be far the Tavern. But what that end could look like is still up for discussion. There is tentatively the idea that the Tavern will continue to cover the KPA angle – with help from Korean Footballers Abroad (as K-League United is killing it with excellent coverage of the K-League Classic and Challenge) as well as the KNT and KWNT in general – though it’s coverage that will conclude with this current World Cup cycle leading into Russia WC 2018. Perhaps the Tavern will still exist in a different format – Top Drawer Soccer in the US does a neat job covering potential US prospects domestically and abroad – so maybe a focus change. Or perhaps a format change simply as a microblog with the current Tavern Twitter handle. Lastly, who know, maybe even a new crop of writers could take the mantle and run the Tavern with their own vision (and I haven’t even gotten to properly introduce you to our newest contributor, Tom Marcantonio, he’s a writer based in Jeju and he’s already written 2 spot on posts for the Tavern – follow him on Twitter at TJMarcantonio). All of this is To be determined. BY the way, If you want to contribute to the Tavern, we’re open to InBedWithMaradona-esque essay pieces [much like the ones Steve Price did for both IBWM and the Tavern], just find me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll talk about the future of the Tavern more in the upcoming days leading to our 4th anniversary later in August.
I leave you now with highlights of Valencia academy’s Lee Kang-In, who won the Cotif MVP award despite Valencia finishing runner ups (thanks to youtuber Forrest!)
Extra Time: Ahn Jun-Hyuk also played in the tournament, didn’t play badly for Villarreal’s youth team and scored a decent goal
and lastly, if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s pretty heavy, but make time to see “Battleship Island” in the theaters. Never forget. Happy Liberation Day ya’ll – Chal ga