Breaking news! Stielike and Shin Tae Yong have released their rosters for the upcoming five friendlies! Read more for the new faces and a position by position evaluation:
*disclaimer: the recently concluded Suwon JS Cup actually taught us fans a lot about the team’s strengths and weaknesses. I stayed up til 4 AM yesterday to watch us defeat Japan. A short preview? 1) we have a damn good defense and 2) our offense kind of sucks without our normal players like Kim JH and Kang JH but we discovered quite the gem in team maknae Cho Young Wook. More on that tomorrow or Tuesday.
The senior team:
Goalkeepers: Normally I would say “Wow Kim Jin Hyeon is almost certainly going to start” but actually, the word is going around that Jung Sung Ryong is actually performing really well over in Kawasaki (yes I know it’s hard to imagine but we do know Jung performs well between World Cups and fails spectacularly at the event). So more or less the usual here, nothing too interesting to speak of.
Fullbacks: This position saw the most change. We don’t have Kim Jin Su or Park Joo Ho due to their conditions, but now we have not only Yoon Suk Young but also two real right backs in Lee Yong and Lim Chang Woo. These seem reasonable enough, though I haven’t seen any bits of Lim Chang Woo in action to really say anything about him. I am slightly disappointed though that the two FC Seoul fullbacks didn’t make the cut – Ko YH and Ko GM both possess some great dribbling and cover a ton of ground.
CB: HONG JEONG HO WOOHOO! But I’m a little disappointed not a single K Leaguer CB made it. In all likelihood we’re going to see Hong Jeong Ho and Kwak Tae Hwi.
CM: Ki Sung Yong returns but will be partnered by slightly underwhelming players like Han KY, Jung WY, and Ko MJ. I say underwhelming because they’ve been good at times but also spectacularly bad at times. I was personally gunning for someone like Joo Se Jong, but oh well. Han Kook Young might be especially useful vs. Spain for his tackling ability.
AM: This is actually where I’m the most worried. We are missing both Lee Chung Yong (no minutes) and Koo Ja Cheol (the only in-form KPA all season). I suspect we’ll see SHM left, Nam center, and Lee JS right, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in me at all to be honest. Why was Kim Bo Kyung omitted? He was playing so incredibly well all season, he really should have been picked IMO over someone like JDW who hardly played AT ALL.
FW: I guess Stielike finally saw through Lee Jung Hyeop’s limitations, and ultimately opted for Hwang EJ and Suk HJ. Again, a little disappointing because Hwang EJ has been pretty bad this season, and Suk never got to play much for Porto.
Verdict: Koo Ja Cheol honestly would have made a huge difference here. And with all the fullback uncertainties (i.e. going for YSY who has been playing in lower leagues all season), I don’t particularly forsee us getting results against Spain and the Czech Republic.
Let me say that I’m actually fairly excited about this one. For starters pretty much the entire core of the team got called (they stayed injury free!) and the only potential missing links here are the wild cards.
I won’t go by position here as it’s more or less the U22 AFC Championship team + the overseas players who never got released. Yeon Jei Min and Hwang Ki Wook got cut, but some interesting new faces got called up, and that is: Choi Gyu Baek of Jeonbuk (he has played for the team before but not much), Hong Jun Ho of Gwangju FC (he’s played every minute of the K League season but it’s a question mark as to how Olympic ready he could be), and Seo Young Jae, the left back currently developing at Hamburg SV. Shim Sang Min is a little worrisome since he has not featured at all for Seoul in the K League Classic, while Lee Seul Chan has featured only sparingly (a chance for Seo Young Jae perhaps?) Hwang Hee Chan is also a bit of a worry because he has hardly played for Liefering, but this will be a good time to see if he’s significantly out of form ahead of the Olympics (since Suk Hyun Jun is vying for a wild-card spot right now).
Overall I see this as a fine-tuning evaluation for Shin Tae Yong. The core of the players are here, and against teams like Nigeria Honduras and Denmark we HAVE to go for results considering that our group stage foes include Germany and Mexico. STY has his gameplan and tactics down already. If we win, we can build up with our wild cards, but if we lose, Shin will have to do a lot of rethinking.