Road to Paris. The ‘Hwang Sun-Hong Ho’ takes a strong first step.

Hwang Sun-hong’s Olympic Under-22 team will take on Qatar at the Changwon Football Center on Saturday in the first qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup on Saturday.

Hwang announced his starting lineup just over an hour before kickoff. Heo Yul will start up front. Uhm Ji Sung and Kang Hyun Mook provide support at the back. Lee Jin-yong, Jeon Byung-kwan, and Oh Jae-hyuk are at the back. Lee Tae-seok, Min Kyung-hyun, Cho Sung-kwon, and Cho Wi-je make up the back four. Baek Jong-beom guards the goal.

The first step to Paris. A total of 16 teams will qualify for the U-23 Asian Cup, including the first-place finishers from each of the 11 qualifying groups, the top four teams from Group 2 and host Qatar. The 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup will be held in Qatar next April and will serve as the final Asian qualifier for the Paris Olympics. South Korea will face Qatar, Kyrgyzstan (Sept. 9) and Myanmar (Sept. 12) in Group B of the tournament.스포츠토토 Qatar have already qualified as hosts, so the result against South Korea will not affect the group standings.

Photo credit=Korea Football Association

Photo credit=Korea Football Association
South Korea will be attempting to qualify for their 10th consecutive Olympic Games when they face Qatar. Starting with the 1988 Seoul Games and ending with the last one in Tokyo, South Korea became the first country in world soccer history to qualify for nine consecutive Olympic Games. Asia has a ‘3+1’ ticket to the Games. The top three teams from the U-23 Asian Cup will qualify directly to the Olympic Games, while the fourth-placed team will have to play a playoff against the fourth-placed team from the African qualifiers for the Olympic berth.

The team gathered in Changyuan on March 28 to begin training. Huang spent a week evaluating the squad before finalizing the 23-man roster on May 5. After a week of inspecting the team, Huang finalized the 23-man roster on the fifth.

After twists and turns, the final roster was set. Hwang had to make four changes before the team even started training. Defender Byun Jun-soo (Daejeon Hana Citizen) and midfielder Kang Yoon-gu (Ulsan Hyundai) were dropped due to injury. Defender Lee Sang-hyuk (Gimpo FC) and forward Hong Yun-sang (Pohang Steelers) were called up in their place. Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon Commerce) and Bae Joon-ho (Stoke City-England) were also on the roster, but were dropped due to national team selection and transfer issues, respectively.

It took some time to assemble a ‘full’ squad. The overseas players, such as Sang-bin Jeong (Minnesota-USA) and Hyuk-gyu Kwon (Celtic-Scotland), arrived just before the first game. It will be important to see if the team can achieve perfect chemistry by the second and third games.

Photo courtesy of the Korea Football Association

Photo courtesy of the Korea Football Association
AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qualifying Roster (23 players)

Goalkeepers = Jeong-Hoon Kim (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Baek Jong-beom (FC Seoul), Shin Song-hoon (Gimcheon Commerce)

▶Defenders=Min Kyung-hyun (Incheon United) Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk) Son Si-kwan (Bucheon FC) Lee Sang-hyuk (Gimpo FC) Lee Tae-seok (Seoul) Cho Wi-je (Busan I-Park) Cho Hyun-taek (Ulsan Hyundai)

▶Midfielders=Kang Hyun-mook (Gimcheon) Kwon Hyuk-kyu (Celtic-Scotland) Baek Sang-hoon (Seoul) Oh Jae-hyuk (Jeonbuk) Uhm Ji-seong (Gwangju FC) Lee Jin-yong (Daegu FC) Lee Hyun-joo (Wiesbadenby-Germany) Jeon Byung-kwan (Daejeon Hana Citizen) Jung Sang-bin (Minnesota-USA) Hong Yun-sang (Pohang Steelers)

▶Forward: Kim Shin-jin (Seoul), Heo Yul (Gwangju)

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