Klinsmann-ho announces 23 entries for all European troops…”Humiliating loss against China.” It’s time to pay back
South Korea’s soccer team will look to avenge its World Cup loss to China six years and eight months ago with a European class.
The South Korean national soccer team, coached by Jürgen Klinsmann, on Saturday announced its 23-man roster for this month’s World Cup Asia Second Round qualifiers in South Korea and China. South Korea opens its World Cup Asia 2026 qualifying campaign at home against Southeast Asian nation Singapore at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sept. 16.
The team will then travel to Shenzhen, China, to face China on Nov. 21 for the second leg of the Asian Second Qualifying Round. It’s the trip to China that will be the focus of attention.
Although it’s only the second round of qualifying, Klinsmann will bring out all of his European star players to try and make it two wins in a row, reflecting the weight of World Cup qualification. Compared to the two A matches in October, there are two players missing and one new addition. It is no exaggeration to say that the roster was almost unchanged, with backup goalkeeper Song Bum-geun (Shonan Belmare).
Captain Son Heung-min (Tottenham), core defender Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), Altoan midfielder Lee Jae-sung (Mainz), midfield helmsman Hwang In-beom (Zvezda), striker Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), striker Cho Kyu-sung (Mitwillan), and technician Lee Kang-in (PSG) are all top European players.
In addition, Kim Young-kwon, Jeong Seung-hyun, Kim Tae-hwan, and Seol Young-woo (all of Ulsan Hyundai) were part of the Ulsan Hyundai defense that won the first back-to-back K League 1 titles since its inception, along with experienced fullback Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk Hyundai).
From a Korean soccer perspective, the team has called up all of its European counterparts with the goal of qualifying for the third round of the tournament, or even better, qualifying early, by winning two consecutive Asian second-round qualifiers. It would also mean avenging their World Cup qualifying loss to China.
South Korea last lost to China in the final Asian qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia in March 2017. Under German coach Uli Stielike at the time, the Koreans hung their heads in shame after conceding a goal to their opponents’ tall striker Yudabao at a corner kick crisis. The game was dubbed the “Changsha Disaster,” to borrow a phrase from the Chinese city of Changsha. With their ace Son Heung-min sidelined with a red card, they were left with a huge gap in their lineup and suffered the humiliation of being outplayed and outplayed by China.
The shock of the defeat was immense. The 0-1 loss to Iran in October 2016 also jeopardized the team’s position in the final qualifying round, prompting the technical committee to sack Stielike and appoint a new coach, Shin Tae-yong, before the final two matches against Iran and Uzbekistan. China had hoped to reach the knockout rounds for the first time since the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup.
They drew with Iran and Uzbekistan to finish second in their group and qualify, but the loss to China was a huge embarrassment for Korean soccer. At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the two teams did not meet in the Asian qualifiers. This second qualifier gave the Taeguk Warriors a chance to avenge that defeat.
South Korea has won three and drawn one against China since the 0-1 defeat six years ago. If they are at their best in this second qualifier, they should be able to overcome the slumping Chinese. South Korea drew 2-2 at the East Asian Football Confederation Cup in Tokyo, Japan, in December 2017, but back-to-back goals from Hwang Eui-jo and Kim Min-jae secured a 2-0 victory in the Asian Cup group stage in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January 2019.레모나토토 도메인
In the East Asian Football Confederation Cup in Busan in December 2019, Kim Min-jae scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory. In July 2022 in Tokyo, Japan, the team won 3-0 thanks to goals from Cho Kyu-sung and Kwon Chang-hoon, as well as an own goal.
Of course, the East Asian Football Confederation Cup doesn’t feature the most elite players. It’s not an A-match, so most of the players are from South Korea, China, and Japan. Europeans are not represented. The Asian Cup Korea-China match in January 2019 was also a tournament in which the European squad was called up for the Asian Cup itself, but the two teams had both won two consecutive group matches, so there was a sense that they were a little less committed. This was especially true for China, which was afraid of being outplayed by South Korea. Marcello Lippi, the Italian coach of the Chinese national team at the time, visibly reduced the importance of the match against South Korea by leaving out the main squad.
As a result, the second qualifying match against China in Shenzhen will be the first time in six years and eight months since the Changsha disaster that the two national soccer teams have fielded their full-strength squads. The momentum is in South Korea’s favor. Although it’s a clash of teams with three wildcards in the Under-24 squad, South Korea is coming off a one-sided 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the Asian Games in Hangzhou last month that laid the groundwork for a gold medal.
Hong Hyun-seok, who was named to the squad, made waves when he said that “the stadium was as quiet as a library” after the opening goal against China.
It will be interesting to see if Klinsmann’s side can get back to their winning ways in China after warming up in Singapore.