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!
Looking at the squad, I was shocked to see Kim nam il at first, but when i think about it, it kinda makes sense. Both ki sung yong and koo ja cheol are both injured so we lose talent and leadership in that area. We do need a solid vocal leader and being on form, Kim nam il could temporarily be a solution for us. However I do think that one of the two (maybe Koo because he’s almost match fit) should have been called up just in case.
As for the defence, I just hope that Hong Jeong ho returns because the likes of kwak tae hee and lee jung soo have reached their peak in 2010 and shouldn’t be looked at right now. Just hope that Kim young kwon and hong jeong ho (do you know when he’s coming back?) can play regularly for their clubs and return to form. I trust Kim Chang soo to be back in form and Park Joo ho has performed decently for Basel.
For wing, I would play Kim bo kyung and lee chung yong. The match against Lebanon is our most important game because it’ll set the tone of our remaining qualifiers, so we should do everything to win and I believe those two players should be playing.
If we are doing bad then there’s still the option of son heung min and ji dong won, but hopefully that won’t be the case. We have to beat Lebanon, and I believe that we can beat them. Just please don’t get complacent.
Last I heard Jeju was looking at Hong returning to competitive action sometime in June. I think he was called for the Round of 32 FA Cup match, but didn’t make the final squad list. It will be interesting to see who from the U-23 team can make the step up. I think it’ll happen with the next coach though, as Choi Kang-Hee doesn’t seem to really trust them. I don’t think he’s ever started any of the U-23 defenders at their normal positions.
Anyone who has an idea as to why Yoo Byung-Soo doesn’t ever get considered?
I’m not sure, but my guess is that it’s because he doesn’t have name recognition, and that the he doesn’t play in Europe/Korea/Japan. The Middle East doesn’t really attract any sort of attention here, so unless you’re either doing fantastically well, or have already established yourself in one of the three places mentioned earlier, players in the Mid-East don’t usually get called from what I’ve seen.
Lee Myung Joo would not take Koo’s spot because he’s not an attacking mid. He’s a pure CM, and plays in the 2 of the 2-3-1 for Pohang. He plays most similarly to Ki.
Yeah, I guess I was thinking more of how they (Koo and Ki) have played for the NT lately. Koo has been playing a lot deeper in a more box-to-box role, which is what I expect from Lee Myeong-Joo.
Hi Roy and Jae,
Thank you for the wonderful articles. I was thinking to myself how the Wikipedia page for the South Korea National Football is a tad bit outdated. There isn’t a lot of information on Choi Kang-Hee either. Maybe you guys could make the difference!
I think this is outrageous. I honestly believe Choi Kang-Hee is not qualified to be our national team’s coach, and has proved this fact after each and every match. We have barely been scraping by and have always played terrible football, I have watched every match since he took over for Cho, and have been enraged not only by the team’s lack of any effective strategy, but his selection of players as well.
This is a man who has started off by stating he does not wish to continue beyond the qualifiers. So he has no ambition or confidence. What he is concerned about is his short term record. He is not thinking of establishing the foundations for a team that is to be competitive at the WC in 2014. This is highlighted by his constant refusal to play his top players (the ones based in Europe, I mean, they are in Europe for a reason). But I think this is a common thought, shared by many of our overly and often blindly patriotic Korean people. In fact, I hear many people talk about our K-League and its players as if there is anything of note to discuss, when in reality it is a third-rate league lacking any real talent. The few talented players manage to get scouted to Europe at younger ages. That is just how it is my friends, as harsh as it may sound. We need to be realistic, because we are not playing Incheon or Jeju in 2014, but the best teams in the world.
His obsession over the incompetent Lee Dong Gook is something that might give me a stroke in the future as it baffles me every time. Kim Shin Wook has also been incredibly useless. He is like an Andy Carroll without any skill, his only redeeming feature being his height, which hasn’t been helping him at all.
Choi Kang Hee states that he is looking at players’ current form and playing time when making his decisions regarding what squad to play for the matches. Yet one of the top scorers in the Bundesliga (scoring 4 against Dortmund, not Suwon or FC Seoul) and the man who saved us from being put in an even more difficult position against Qatar, still has to be “considered” for a starting spot. This man, and anyone supporting his incompetence and lack of sound judgement, need to wake up. I may just sound harsh and angry, but at this point I want to see my beloved team succeed and make it to the WC, and I just cannot watch this nobody potentially take that away from our great country.
Certainly Choi Kang-Hee has not exactly inspired confidence since his appointment, but a chunk of the blame has to go to the KFA as well. While there were concerns about Cho Kwang-Rae, I still strongly feel they were very hasty in firing him without having a solid plan to work on. After they fired him, they all of a sudden realized they had no one to replace him. They went to Choi, got refused, but kept begging him to take it until he did. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he has little interest in setting a foundation for the future because, as you and others have pointed out, he has no interest in continuing with the national team. His only concern is to secure qualification, which is likely. So as far as he’s concerned, he’s doing what he was appointed to do. No more, no less. While I don’t personally rate Choi at the international level, he is very uncomfortably getting the job done. And while we would all like it to be done with and done in style, ultimately all I care about is that it gets done. After that, I just hope and pray that the KFA is lining up a manager, whether it’s Hong Myeong-Bo or otherwise, that has a clear vision for the future and this team.