South Korea announced the squad list for the upcoming matches vs Colombia (in Ulsan on 3/24) and Uruguay (in Seoul on 3/28). The matches seem to be quite highly anticipated with tickets for the match against Colombia already selling out. The two matches will also be Jurgen Klinsmann’s first official matches in charge. However, given his appointment was just a couple weeks ago he likely had little real input on the squad and tactics.
The original 26-man squad.
- Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Al Shabab), Song Bum-keun (Shonan Bellmare), Jo Hyeon-woo (Ulsan Hyundai)
- Defenders: Kwon Kyungwon (Gamba Osaka), Kim Moon-hwan (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Kim Min-jae (SSC Napoli), Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Kim Young-gwon (Ulsan Hyundai), Kim Tae-hwan (Ulsan Hyundai), Lee Ki-je (Suwon Samsung), Cho Yu-min (Daejeon Citizens)
- Midfielders: Kwon Chang-hoon (Gimcheon Sangmu), Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul), Paik Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Son Jun-ho (Shandong Taishan), Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Song Min-kyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Lee Kang-in (RCD Mallorca), Lee Jae-sung (FSV Mainz), Jung Woo-young (Al Sadd), Jeong Woo-yeong (SC Freiburg), Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton)
- Forwards: Oh Hyeon-gyu (Celtic FC), Cho Gue-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Hwang Ui-jo (FC Seoul)
A little after the squad was announced, Hwang Hee-chan suffered another injury setback and it was declared he would miss the matches and no replacement would be called up.
In a nutshell
In a nutshell, it’s basically the World Cup squad again. Surprised? No, not really. Given the relatively short time between the World Cup and these friendlies + a new manager with no experience/ideas about the player pool it was kind of a given there wouldn’t be too many changes.
The goalkeepers are the same three that made the trip to Qatar. (Side note, when did Song Bum-keun go to Shonan Bellmare?)
In defense, Suwon Samsung’s Lee Ki-je is the only new face with Hong Chul and Yoon Jong-gyu not making the roster this time around.
Little Jeong Woo-yeong is included in the squad this time around in the midfield.
Oh Hyeon-gyu makes the squad following his move to Celtic in the winter transfer window.
And yeah… that’s about it.
I don’t imagine we’ll see anything different tactically from the World Cup. Klinsmann (for good and for bad) won’t have the time to really put any changes in, so I would imagine the idea is to play the same brand and style that Bento had instilled during his tenure.
Quick hits on Colombia and Uruguary
Colombia’s squad looks relatively young, but there are a handful of older veterans included. Hwang In-beom’s teammate at Olympiacos, James Rodriguez in included as are Radamel Falcao and Davinson Sanchez.
The Uruguay squad looks pretty young, although there is still quality in it. Our favorite(?) villain, Fede Valverde headlines the squad as Darwin Nunez withdrew due to injury, which will deal a blow to their attack.
Hopefully, there are no – to be slightly political – unsavory incidents this time around. Our recent matches against both Colombia and Uruguay had some iffy things that happened. Hopefully things go smoothly with nothing significant happening.
Beyond that, I don’t think the play or results really matter much. Personally, I see these matches more as a (hopefully) sending off for certain *ahem* veteran players that will ride off into the sunset following a successful World Cup. It will also be a chance for Klinsmann to see the national team in person and get his feet wet.
I think we should win to be quite honest. There is talent in both Colombia and Uruguay’s squads, but they will have to make the long trip to Japan and Korea, and quite frankly I think on the overall balance of things our squad is slightly stronger. I expect we’ll see a lot of the ball, but give up a few good chances in each match. If we take our chances, we should get a solid morale-boosting international outing.