Lee Kangin’s ‘Golden Left Foot’ has been preheated… From now on, it’s a real match.
Looking to become the first men’s soccer team in Asian Games history to win three consecutive titles, Hwang Sun-hong has been a “three-game sweep” in the group stage. Starting with a 9-0 demolition of Kuwait in the first game of Group E, Hwang was flawless, not conceding a single goal on his way to scoring 16 in wins over Thailand (4-0) and Bahrain (3-0).
With momentum on their side, the team now heads into the tournament in search of gold. Head coach Hwang Sun-hong’s side will kick off their Round of 16 campaign against Group F runner-up Kyrgyzstan at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Jinhua Sports Center Stadium in Zhejiang, China. The round of 16 was initially expected to be a North-South showdown, but with North Korea topping Group F, the two Koreas will only meet in the final.토토사이트
With the addition of “soccer genius” Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) to the squad, the team is in peak form. They’ve also built up their stamina ahead of the round of 16. Hwang Sun-hong made all changes from the previous match against Thailand, with the exception of Hong Hyun-seok (Hent). Lee Kang-in played the first 36 minutes of the first game to get his body up to speed. Having only just recovered from injury, he looked as lively as if he hadn’t been injured, a sign of things to come in the tournament. Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), Hong Hyun-seok, Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk), and Ko Young-joon (Pohang) have also found the back of the net, while the defense has been in ‘iron wall’ mode, keeping a clean sheet.
While the team is in good spirits, they cannot afford to let their guard down in the tournament. At the Jakarta-Palembang tournament five years ago, Kim Hak-bum-ho’s team had to go to extra-time against Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals. Hwang knows this too. After the Bahrain game, he said, “We can’t win every game. You can only be a strong team if you can overcome a one-goal deficit,” he said after the Bahrain game, adding, “We’re going to be in a tough situation, but we’re going to keep our composure.”
If they beat Kyrgyzstan, they could face hosts China in the quarterfinals. Group A winners China will meet Group D runners-up Qatar in the round of 16. The Chinese, who are aiming for at least a top-four finish at the Games, have been building for a long time and look formidable, going unbeaten (2 wins, 1 draw) in their three group games.
Meanwhile, Korean swimming sensation Hwang Sun-woo (Gangwon-do Province), who won gold in the men’s 800 freestyle relay, will look to make it a ‘double’ in his main event, the 200 freestyle. Hwang will once again face off against his arch-nemesis, Fan Zhanle (China). Fan Zhanle won gold in the 100 freestyle with a time of 46.97, ahead of Huang, who settled for bronze in 48.04. However, in the 800 freestyle relay, he was edged out by South Korea’s Sunwoo Hwang, who took silver. It will be interesting to see if she can complete the double in her third meeting with Panzaner.
The women’s epee team will also be looking to strike gold today. Choi In-jung (Gyeryong City Hall) and Song Sera (Busan Metropolitan Government) were the only Koreans in the individual final of the epee, so there are high hopes for gold in the team event.