Right now, the greatest enemy is within us. We must never let down our guard. We need to step back and think about it one more time, and we will approach it cautiously so that we can make it to the finals.”
National soccer team coach Hwang Seon-hong’s words were filled with joy about winning the quarterfinals. But he neither smiled nor let down his guard. This is because champagne must be consumed only after the winner has been decided.
The Asian Games men’s soccer team, led by coach Hwang Seon-hong, won a clean 2-0 victory against China in the men’s soccer quarterfinals of the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, which is being held at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in China from 9 p.m. on the 1st (Korean time).
It was literally a complete victory. Korea previously won 5-1 against Kyrgyzstan in the round of 16. However, coach Hwang Seon-hong at the time left more regrets about the sloppy play that gave up 1 point, and the performance that failed to continue even after scoring 2 points first.
Coach Hwang Seon-hong, who appeared after the game that day, was different. His expression was still serious, but his content was full of joy about victory. Coach Hwang said, “It was a good match. I would like to thank the Chinese team coach and players for giving their best. I think many soccer fans enjoyed soccer,” and added, “The first goal gave stability to the game. There are now two steps left.” “I will only look forward with our players,” he said.
What was it like for the actual players? Go Young-jun said that there was no atmosphere of scolding at all. He said, “The atmosphere was really good even after the round of 16. I took a day off to relieve some of the stress that had built up. Rather than talking about letting down our guard, the coach just kept emphasizing what our players should do.”
The winning strategy worked. Coach Hwang Seon-hong made a change by replacing Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), who was considered the core of the team before the game, and Jeong Woo-young (Stuttgart), who was competing for the top scorer, and inserting Song Min-gyu (Jeonbuk) and Ko Young-jun (Pohang). Ahn Jae-jun (Bucheon) and Jo Young-wook (Sangmu) also started as starters and played key roles in the team’s attack. Song Min-gyu, Ko Young-jun, and Cho Young-wook led the team’s attack throughout the game, and Song Min-gyu in particular contributed to the victory with a decisive additional goal in the first half.
Coach Hwang Seon-hong said, “This is a well-calculated part. We have selected the starting lineup according to the opponent, and all of our attackers are in very good condition. It is a situation where no matter who is put forward, they do their part. We are putting pressure from the front and pouring a lot of energy into attack.” “That’s why, except for Cho Young-wook, there is no player who can play 90 minutes. I already said that to the strikers even before this tournament.”
A stressful matchup. It was important that the players became stronger. The appearance pointed out by Coach Hwang in the round of 16 was difficult to see at all on this day. Coach Hwang Seon-hong said, “Today, the atmosphere was quite stressful for the players. But the players must have that experience. They must know how to enjoy this kind of atmosphere and this kind of game in order to level up. So I hoped that would be the case.” “We didn’t do it, but the players were aware of that. I think they went back and forth between cool-headedness and passion very well. I think (with today’s win) we can improve further as a whole as a team,” he said.스포츠토토
Korea’s next opponent is Uzbekistan. If they win, they can face the winner of the Japan-Hong Kong match in the finals on the 7th. Coach Hwang Seon-hong said, “Uzbekistan is straightforward and powerful. If we fight together, it can become difficult. We need to prepare well tactically.” He added, “The best enemy is within us. We must never let down our guard. We must approach carefully and make sure we can reach the finals. “I will do it,” he pledged.
Hong Hyun-seok, the protagonist of the first goal, also cautioned, “The players also think that Uzbekistan is the strongest opponent. They are physically good and they all kick the ball well. I think they are strong because it seems similar to the European style.” However, he said, “If we do our job, “I think we can win,” he said confidently.