“Actually, I envy Japan.”

It was exactly two years ago. At the press conference announcing the list for the match against Ghana, Kim Hak-beom, coach of the 토토사이트Olympic soccer team at the time, said, “I have never been envious of Japan.” It was dissatisfaction with not being able to summon the best, unlike Japan, when key players were selected for the A national team right before the Olympics.

At the time, coach Kim wanted to recruit Won Doo-jae and Lee Dong-gyeong (Ulsan Hyundai at the time) and Song Min-gyu (Pohang Steelers at the time). However, with the World Cup 2nd qualifying round ahead, coach Paulo Bento (Portugal) called all of them to the A national team. At least Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) headed to Kim Hak-beom, but at that time it was not the main resource for the A national team. Coach Kim said, “The Japanese Olympic team will have an evaluation match including the wild card (24+). It is true that there is a lot of regret left,” he openly expressed regret about Bento’s choice.

At that time, Kim Hak-beom was in the final stage of hardening a month before the Olympics. Even if it’s not a wild card, he hoped to pick up players of his age, considering the time right before the Olympics. However, coach Kim’s expectation of a big concession was meaningless in front of the A national team priority principle and Bento’s decision. Coach Kim said, “In Europe, the Olympic team is not considered important. It seems to be a cultural difference,” he said, and director Bento replied, “It went through an extremely natural and normal procedure.”

Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the national football team. Photo = Korea Football Association

Seon-Hong Hwang, head coach of the U-24/U-22 national soccer team. Photo = Korea Football Association

Looking back at the dissonance between the national teams two years ago, it is highly likely that a similar situation will continue between Klins Man-ho and Hwang Seon-hong-ho in the future.

Immediately next month, the call-up periods of the two national teams are expected to overlap. Klinsmann will play two evaluation matches against Peru and El Salvador in Busan and Daejeon, respectively. Hwang Seon-Hong-Ho, who is preparing for the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) in September, is scheduled to have an overseas evaluation match around the same time. It is necessary to discuss the selection of players belonging to the ‘intersection’ between the A national team and the U-24 national team.

The most representative player is Lee Kang-in. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (Germany) has already expressed his intention to use Lee Kang-in as the main axis of his national team since his debut in March. It is also an evaluation match that has not been done a few times in the process of preparing for the Asian Cup in January next year. As it is a match held in Korea, it is true that fans’ great interest in Lee Kang-in cannot be ignored.

However, coach Hwang Seon-hong is also preparing to build the AG national team with Lee Kang-in at the center. The AG is also significant as it is a tournament where players such as Lee Kang-in are exempted from military service on the premise of being selected by their team. For coach Hwang, it is an important time to find out how to utilize Lee Kang-in in practice. This is why consultations between the two directors are necessary.

Lee Kang-in, who participated in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup as a member of the U-23 national team in June last year. Photo = Korea Football Association

Jung Woo-young (Freiburg) and Song Min-gyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai) are also resources that can be summoned to both Klinsman-ho and Hwang Seon-hong. Although excluded from the first round of Klinsman, which was mainly composed of Qatar World Cup members, Um Won-sang (Ulsan), Go Young-jun (Pohang), and Hong Hyeon-seok (Hent) are also classified as players that need consultation between Klinsman and Hwang.

Issues related to player selection between Klins Man-ho and Hwang Seon-hong-ho will inevitably continue not only in June but also during the preparation period for the Paris Olympics next year. The principle of priority for national team A will be maintained, but coach Klinsman understands the importance of AG or the Olympics and may make concessions to the selection of players depending on the situation. In this process, mediation by the Korea Football Association (KFA) is also a must.

A KFA official said, “The two coaches held a meeting. Although the contents were not disclosed, it seems that the meeting was held for smooth coordination. Coach Klinsmann tends to focus a lot on the development of individual players. It is expected that discussions regarding the convocation will continue in the future.”

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