We have to win, no matter the reason. We will work together and take the last step.” It’s just one step to victory. Hwang Sun-hong’s men’s soccer team will try to win their third straight Asian Games title by beating arch-rivals Japan.
The South Korean men’s soccer Asian Games team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, will face Japan in the final of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou. A victory over Japan would mark the first time South Korea has won three consecutive titles at the tournament, and the sixth time they have won the title (1970, 1978, 1986, 2014, 2018, 2022).
Unlike previous editions of the Asian Games, which featured the Under-23 (U-23) team, the U-24 team will be competing. This is due to a one-year postponement of the Games in the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition, Baek Seung-ho, Park Jin-seop (Jeonbuk) and Seol Young-woo (Ulsan) were named as “wild cards,” which allow up to three players to compete regardless of age. They were joined by European players Lee Kang-in, Jung Woo-young, Hong Hyun-seok, Park Kyu-hyun, and Lee Han-beom, as well as K League stars such as Uhm Won-sang, Cho Young-wook, Ko Young-joon, and Song Min-gyu, who were judged to have built a ‘national-level’ squad.
Hwang Sun-hong, who built a colorful squad, put on a ‘fireworks show’. In the tournament, South Korea played “dakgong” soccer with a variety of attacking combinations, scoring a total of 25 goals and conceding just two in six games, including the group stage. The top scorer is Jung Woo-young with seven goals, followed by Baek Seung-ho, Cho Young-wook, and Hong Hyun-seok with three goals apiece. Japan scored a total of 17 goals in five matches, including the group stage, and conceded just two, the same as South Korea. Top scorers were Kotaro Uchino and Shun Ayukawa with three goals apiece.
In terms of objective power and offense, South Korea has the edge. This is because South Korea has all of its players playing in the professional ranks as key resources for their respective teams, while Japan has a relatively weak roster, fielding 10 college players and forgoing a wild card in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympics.메이저사이트
But it’s not a safe bet. Despite being labeled as a weak team, Japan scored 17 goals in five games, including the group stage, and reached the final with an undefeated record, conceding just two goals. Even though Japan has 10 university players, most of whom are under the age of 22, they still managed to impress with their organized passing soccer and strong forward pressure. For this reason, Hwang Sun-Hong will have his work cut out for him.
The Korean U-23s have a record of seven wins, four draws and six losses against the Japanese U-23s. Their most recent encounter was in the quarterfinals of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup in June last year, where they suffered a 0-3 defeat, with Japan taking all three points. Expanding the scope to the age-group squads, Korea and Japan also met in the final of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 in July, but South Korea had to swallow their disappointment in a 0-3 defeat.
However, the Asian Games are a different story. South Korea has met Japan eight times in total, winning seven and losing one. After a 1-2 loss in the first round of the group stage at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, Korea has bounced back with wins in 1998, 2014, and 2018. In the most recent meeting, the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games final, South Korea defeated Japan 2-1 in extra time thanks to goals from Lee Seung-woo and Hwang Hee-chan.
Hwang Sun-hong was determined to avenge his team’s loss at the U-23 Asian Cup. “We have one last shot left,” Hwang said, adding, “We’ll give it everything we’ve got to win the gold medal. We have to win, no matter the reason. We will take the last step together,” he said, expressing his strong desire to win the Korea-Japan match.
With only one game left to win the title, they face Japan, a team that can’t lose a game of rock, paper, scissors. It’s time for the Korean people to show their support for Hwang Seon-hong to defeat the ‘fateful rival’ and bring home the gold.