Passed the ‘flawless’ group stage, Lee Kang-in completed ‘preheating’…Hwang Sun-hong, who maintained “Peace”, said, “Now is the game.”
Hwang Sun-hong, head coach of the Korean men’s national team, has emphasized “composure” and “steadiness” since the start of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games. Even after their 9-0 win over Kuwait in their first group game, he said, “We need to forget about it quickly. It can become a ‘poison’,” he emphasized again and again.
As a result, Hwang won all three group games. Most importantly, the team scored 16 goals in the three games and did not concede a single goal. However, there is no room for complacency. After the 3-0 win over Bahrain in the third group game of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at the Jinhua Sports Center in Jinhua, Zhejiang, China, on Thursday (June 24), Huang said, “Not every game is a simple matter. We can’t win every game. You have to play well in one-goal games to be a strong team. We need to stay calm and think we can do it. From now on, it’s a game,” he said encouragingly.스포츠토토
Hwang Sun-hong’s goal is not the round of 16, but an unprecedented ‘three in a row’. “We’ve only played three matches. The tournament is a one-loss tournament, and as Hwang said, it’s just beginning. The team has yet to face an opponent that could be called a ‘nemesis’. The round of 16 includes host China, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, and Japan.
Hwang will face Kyrgyzstan in the round of 16 at the Jinhua Sports Center on March 27. Kyrgyzstan, ranked 97th in the FIFA rankings, is a team that relies on strength over skill. They struggled in the first two games, but scored four goals against Chinese Taipei in the final game to dramatically book their ticket to the round of 16.
Still, one positive for Hwang was that late arrival “Golden Boy” Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) warmed up for 36 minutes ahead of the tournament. Lee only joined the squad on the 21st due to a late call-up from his club, Paris Saint-Germain. Furthermore, Lee had just recovered from a hamstring injury.
Lee made his debut in the third match against Bahrain. He played as an attacking midfielder instead of a flanker, effectively being given a ‘free-roll’ role. He was able to move freely between the one and two lines and made several characteristic dribbles and breakthroughs. However, he was clearly not 100% fit and was substituted after 36 minutes. It was a well-calculated move by Hwang.
Furthermore, the last time Lee played with his teammates was at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup in June last year. “It was the first time I played with my teammates (at the tournament), and I think we have a lot to work on,” Lee said.
Lee Kang-in is a “key player” for Hwangseon Hongho to win their third consecutive title. He needs to be a key resource and a crunch time solution. Hwang will continue to utilize Lee as a “freeroll” player. “I don’t want to be too specific (about the position), but I think it’s better for him to play freely,” Hwang explained.
“What’s more important than how I play is the team’s performance. I will try my best, but even if I don’t play well, we have to work as a team for the goal (gold). The next match (Round of 16) is important, so I will prepare well. I will do my best to win the gold medal,” he emphasized.