The opponents of the A national soccer team’s “Clinsmanho,” which aims to advance to the FIFA World Cup finals for the 11th consecutive time, and the under-24 national team’s “Hwang Sun-hongho,” which is trying to win three consecutive Asian Games, have all been determined.
On the 27th, the second Asian qualifying round for the 2026 North-Central America World Cup and the draw for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games were held in Malaysia and China, respectively. The A national team, led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, will meet the winners of the first qualifying round between Singapore and Guam in Group C.
The Asian Games national team, led by head coach Hwang Sun-hong, will face Bahrain, Thailand and Kuwait in Group E. The women’s team was in Group E with Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Myanmar.
Both the A team and the AG national team are considered to be a safe group for now. The second Asian qualifying round for the World Cup will begin in November and continue until June next year. South Korea will play the first round of the second qualifying round at home against Singapore-Guam winner on November 16 and will go on an expedition to China on the 21st of the same month. The Klinsmann team, which will then face Thailand at home and away on March 21 and 26, 2024, will meet Singapore-Guam winners on June 6 and 11 next year, respectively, before wrapping up its second qualifying schedule with home matches against China.
The first and second-place teams in the group will be given tickets to the 2027 Asian Cup finals and go straight to the third qualifying round. Korea is likely to take the next step without any major unexpected changes. South Korea ranks 28th in the FIFA rankings, the highest in Group C and the difference from its competitors is large. China (80th), which is likely to be second in the group, has an advantage with 22 wins, 12 draws and 2 losses, and Thailand (113th), 31 wins, 5 draws and 9 losses, Singapore (21 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses), and Guam (3 wins).
If there is an awkward opponent, it is only China. It’s not because you’re good at soccer. This is due to China’s rough and non-manner style of play, represented by the notorious Shaolin Football.
Chinese soccer has long suffered from the Gong Han-jeung complex, which gets smaller when it meets Korean soccer, and to make up for it, it has often been more aggressive play or home resident whenever it meets Korea.
Aside from its overwhelming advantage in the match against China, South Korea has had several bad relationships with Hwang Sun-hong’s injury, the 2003 East Asian Cup “Eulyongta” incident, the 2019 U-18 Panda Cup ceremony, and the deprivation of the trophy. In addition, national midfielder Son Joon-ho, who competed in the 2022 Qatar World Cup, has already been forcibly detained by public security for months after being embroiled in an unsavory incident in China. This is why public opinion toward China is cold among domestic soccer fans.
Not long ago, his younger brother Hwang Sun-hong also had a hard time in an away evaluation match against his home team China in preparation for the Asian Games. Even though it was a warm-up match, South Korea was embroiled in controversy as major players such as Um Won-sang, Cho Young-wook and Ko Young-joon were seriously injured by China’s rough play. Coach Hwang Sun-hong and the Korea Football Association were also criticized for forcing the warm-up match against China and failing to properly protect the players.
Team A also said, “Don’t let your guard down. South Korea was assigned to a group with China in the final qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, led by former head coach Uli Stielike, and recorded one win and one loss. In particular, I have a painful memory of losing 0-1 in an away game in Changsha, China, on March 23, 2017, marking the first loss in World Cup qualifying history. Stielike was ultimately dismissed midway through the final qualifying round as the defeat was a fatal blow.
In the second qualifying round, the Chinese expedition will be held first in November, and the timing is somewhat sensitive. In just two months, the 2023 AFC Asian Cup will be held, and by this time, the final entry will be virtually confirmed, and most of the main players are likely to play against China. If the home game had been played first, it would have eased the burden by confirming the early advance to the third qualifying round and finishing the Asian Cup schedule and then going on an expedition to China. If there is a serious injury in the match against China in November, even the Asian Cup, which will immediately follow, could be disrupted in the power plan.
Since taking over as the head coach of the Korean national soccer team this year, Klinsmann has yet to report his first win, with only two draws and two losses in four warm-up matches played only at home. Concerns have already been raised about Klinsmann’s leadership. If bad results come out from the second qualifying round, including the match against China, doubts about coach Klinsmann could expand out of control.
For Klinsmann, who aimed to win the semifinals of the North Korea-China-U.S. World Cup and the Asian Cup for the first time in 63 years, the burden of reversing public opinion with a clear performance before the end of this year has increased. Fortunately, it is a good thing for Klinsmann that the walls of the preliminary round have been lowered as the number of World Cup participants has increased from 32 to 48 and the number of Asian qualifiers has increased from 4.5 to 8.5.
Twenty-four countries will participate in the Hangzhou Asian Games soccer event, where the national team under the age of 24 will participate. They will be divided into six groups of four countries and play the group stage. The 12 teams in the first and second places in each group automatically advance to the round of 16, and four of the third places in each group will join to determine the championship in a single tournament from the round of 16.
Hwang Sun-hong will aim to win three consecutive Asian Games following Lee Kwang-jong at the 2014 Incheon Games and Kim Hak-beom at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games. Starting with the first match against Kuwait on September 19, Thailand on the 21st and Bahrain on the 24th, all of the matches will be held at Jinhua Sports Center Stadium near Hangzhou. It is also the place where Hwang Sun-hong left for China last month and played two warm-up matches against China.
South Korea, the defending champion, avoided all of its burdensome opponents, including China, Japan, Vietnam, North Korea, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia and Iran in the second port.
The Asian Games traditionally have military service benefits at stake. Numerous players, including Son Heung-min, benefited from military service at the Asian Games, which helped them continue their successful career. In this national team, the joining of Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), who is considered the present and future of Korean football, and whether he will win or not is of keen interest. Lee Kang-in has yet to solve the military service problem and has been included in the Hangzhou AG national team list, but negotiations with his new team Paris Saint-Germain have yet to be confirmed.
In addition, the Asian Games also has the nature of an “intermediate evaluation” of Hwang Sun-hong, who aims for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Head coach Hwang Sun-hong has not been in good public opinion among soccer fans due to the elimination of the quarterfinals of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup last year, the disaster of the Korea-Japan match, and the controversy over the match against China this year.
The final list of the Asian Games, announced after many twists and turns, is also concerned about the poor front-line composition, the selection and withdrawal of defender Lee Sang-min, who caused controversy over drunk driving, and the opaque joining of Lee Kang-in. Analysts say that if Hwang does not produce convincing results at the Hangzhou Asian Games, it is difficult to guarantee whether he will be able to take the helm until the Olympics. 스포츠토토
The dice were cast and the opponent was all set. It is time for proof. Attention is focusing on whether Klinsmann and Hwang Sun-hong, two-star strikers, will be able to break through the recent bad public opinion and unfavorable factors head-on.