Lee Kang-in’s move to France’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will be highlighted by his inclusion in the men’s soccer team for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced on Sept. 13 that it will hold a press conference on Sept. 14 at the Jongno-gu Football Hall in Seoul to announce the men’s national team roster for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games.
The three-time Asian Games champions have been training for the Hangzhou Asian Games as well as the 2024 Paris Olympics since their inception in September 2021. The Hangzhou Asian Games, which were scheduled to be held last year, were postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, raising the age limit by one year to 24 (born in 1999).
The final roster was also expanded to 22 players, including three goalkeepers, two more than at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games. The number of substitutions will also be increased from three to a maximum of five (plus one in overtime) as in Tokyo.
Huang has been coaching the team for nearly two years and has virtually molded Hangzhou’s roster. These are the players from an exhibition game against the Chinese national team in Hangzhou, China, last month. The core of the squad is dominated by players born in 1999, including Uhm Won-sang (Ulsan Hyundai), Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon Commerce), Ko Jae-hyun (Daegu FC) and Choi Jun (Busan I-Park), who were runners-up at the 2019 U20 World Cup in Poland, as well as Europeans Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart) and Song Min-kyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai), who rose through the ranks in K League 1. Hong Hyun-seok (Hent) was initially scheduled to travel to China, but at the request of head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, he was sent to the June A match.
Also joining the squad is ‘Golden Boy’ Lee Kang-in, who missed the China trial but has already established himself as a key member of the senior squad. Lee won the Golden Ball for his performance as the youngest member of the national team at the 2019 U20 World Cup and later joined Kim Hak-Bum for the Tokyo Olympics. In March last year, he also joined Hwang Sun-hong on the U23 Asian Cup.
The Asian Games are not an A-match, so teams are not obligated to send their players. However, Lee Kang-in, Jung Woo-young, and Hong Hyun-seok are among the overseas players who have not resolved their military issues, so they shouldn’t have much trouble being called up. This is because their Asian Games gold medals come with a special exemption for military service. Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Eui-jo (Nottingham), Kim Min-jae (Napoli), and Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton) were also exempted from military service for their gold medals at the 2018 tournament.
In Lee’s case, he will likely join Hwang in not having enough time to properly adjust to a new league and a new team. The French Ligue 1 2023-24 season kicks off on August 12, while the Hangzhou Asian Games begin on September 23.
Oh Hyun-gyu (Celtic) and Oh Oh-hoon (Shimizu) have completed their military service while playing for Gimcheon Commerce, which could be a negative for their clubs. 안전놀이터
It will also be interesting to see who will be selected as wild cards (three). Hwang plans to use all three at goalkeeper, central midfielder, and frontline striker. It will most likely go to a player who has not yet completed his military service. At the 2018 tournament, Son Heung-min, Hwang Eui-jo, and Cho Hyun-woo (Ulsan) were wild cards.
Meanwhile, the men’s soccer group draw for the Hangzhou Asian Games will be held on February 2.