Yesterday the call ups for the U-22 AFC Championships were announced. Head coach Lee Gwang-Jong has called up 23 players for the tournament. This is the inaugural year for the U-22 tournament, and it will be held next month (Jan. 2014) in Oman. The event will hold more significance in years to come, notably the next time it rolls around (2015) as it will serve as Asian qualification for the 2016 summer Olympics. The tournament is scheduled to be held every two years.
History – Qualification
Korea eased to a spot in the tournament. Topping their group with 13 points. Group host Myanmar also finished with 13 points, but Korea superior goal difference (+20 vs +11) assured them top spot. Korea’s group contained the aforementioned Myanmar, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The top two teams from each group made it to the finals along with the top two of the third place teams.
The following teams qualified for the finals:
Group A – Iraq, UAE, Oman
Group B – Saudi Arabia, Syria
Group C – Iran, Kuwait
Group D – Jordan, Uzbekistan, Yemen
Group E – Japan, Australia
Group F – North Korea, China
Group G – South Korea, Myanmar
Like most major tournaments, the U-22 AFC Championship is split into a group stage and knockout stage. The groups are thus:
Group A – Oman, Jordan, South Korea, Myanmar
Group B – North Korea, UAE, Syria, Yemen
Group C – Iran, Japan, Australia, Kuwait
Group D – Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, China
South Korea’s Group Schedule
Match 1 – South Korea vs Jordan, January 11 (SBS ESPN)
Match 2 – Myanmar vs South Korea, January 13 (MBC Sports)
Match 3 – Oman vs South Korea, January 15 (KBS2)
Should Korea advance from the group stage, a potential Korean derby with North Korea is possible in the quarterfinals or semifinals. And a possible Korea-Japan match in the finals, as they will be kept apart until then.[table “” not found /]
For senior team watchers, two players, Yoon Il-Rok and Jang Hyun-Soo, have made senior team bows before.
I thought Kim Hyun was pretty good in the 2013 U-20 world cup. Maybe he’ll play for the senior team in the 2018 world cup.
I’m excited about Moon Chang-Jin on the roster. Admittedly I don’t know how he’s done in the K League last season, but it was too bad he missed out on the U20 World Cup last summer for Korea (injury I think). If my memory is correct, he was one of the standouts from Korea’s U17 AFC Championship team from fall 2012.
If this is U-22, then why aren’t players like Lee Seung Woo or Son Heung Min called up? Are only players in K-league, J-league, and called up?
oh it’s AFC. My bad for my ignorance.
The fact that it’s AFC doesn’t matter. Son Heung-Min isn’t called because it’s not on the official FIFA calendar, so Bayer isn’t required to release him. I’m quite certain that next year for the senior tournament (AFC Asian Cup) Son will most certainly be a part (and it is on the calendar).
It’s extremely rare for players to be called much higher than their age group. So, despite the fact that Lee Seung-Woo and Jang Gyeol-Hee are extremely talented players, they won’t be included in an age bracket five years over their age. They are a part of Korea’s U-17 group right now and will likely need to progress through the ranks until they are at least 18-19 years old. Then maybe, if they are really featuring at the club level they might get a look at something like U-20/U-23.
I have a strange feeling that Korea is going to barely score one goal in all three matches in the January KNT friendlies just like what happened in the East Asian Cup.
Not much. He barely featured for Pohang. Checking the stats, just 7 appearances in total (6 of them off the bench) and totaled 162 minutes. He did score a goal though. Oh, and it was the U19 team (Moon is 20).