S. Korea unveils football roster for friendlies vs. Uruguay, Panama

October 1, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) — South Korea on Monday unveiled a 25-man roster for upcoming friendly football matches at home that included Stade de Reims striker Suk Hyun-jun.

South Korea, ranked 55th in the latest FIFA rankings, will host No. 5 Uruguay in Seoul on Oct. 12 and will take on 70th-ranked Panama in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, four days later.

South Korea head coach Paulo Bento made five changes from his roster for the team’s September friendlies. South Korea beat Costa Rica 2-0 and had a 0-0 draw with Chile last month.

Among the five newcomers are Suk, who will return to the national team for the first time in two years. The 27-year-old, who has four goals in 11 caps, will try to fill the void left by FC Augsburg forward Ji Dong-won, who injured his knee during his goal celebration in a German Bundesliga match last month.

“We were looking for players who can do Ji’s role and we selected Suk,” Bento said at a press conference at the Korea Football Association House in Seoul. “I know Suk well and he also knows the national team well. I think he can fit into our tactics.”

FC Augsburg midfielder Koo Ja-cheol and Ulsan Hyundai defender Park Joo-ho will also make their national team comeback after missing the September friendlies.

Gyeongnam FC defender Park Ji-soo and Pohang Steelers midfielder Lee Jin-hyun earned their first senior national team call-ups.

“Park has characteristics that we want as a center back,” Bento said. “Lee showed good techniques with the under-20 national team and played well at the Asian Games.”

Jo Hyeon-woo, who was South Korea’s starting goalkeeper at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, will also play for the first time under Bento. He was dropped from the roster for September friendly matches due to a knee injury.

With new faces, Bento’s squad featured South Korea’s experienced stars like Son Heung-min and Ki Sung-yueng. Lee Jae-sung of Holstein Kiel and Hwang Hee-chan of Hamburger SV also made the roster.

However, South Korean prospects in Europe, such as Lee Kang-in, Jeong Woo-yeong and Paik Seung-ho, failed to earn selection. Jeong is with Bayern Munich’s youth team, while Lee and Paik play for B teams of Spanish clubs Valencia and Girona, respectively.

“They are certainly the players that we have to watch,” the coach said. “But we have an important tournament in January, so I thought we should focus on that,” he added, referring to the Asian Cup.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said Bento’s side will start training at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, starting next Monday.

South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento announces his roster for the friendly matches against Uruguay and Panama at Korea Football Association House in Seoul on Oct. 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento announces his roster for the friendly matches against Uruguay and Panama at Korea Football Association House in Seoul on Oct. 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

The following is the list of South Korean players named to the roster for friendly matches against Uruguay on Oct. 12 and Panama on Oct. 16.

Goalkeepers (3): Kim Seung-gyu (Vissel Kobe, Japan), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka, Japan), Jo Hyeon-woo (Daegu FC)

Defenders (9): Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande, China), Jung Seung-hyun (Kashima Antlers, Japan), Jang Hyun-soo (FC Tokyo, Japan), Kim Min-jae, Lee Yong (both Jeonbuk Hyundai), Park Ji-soo (Gyeongnam FC), Kim Moon-hwan (Busan IPark), Hong Chul (Suwon Samsung Bluewings), Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai)

Midfielders (7): Hwang In-beom (Daejeon Citizen), Ki Sung-yueng (Newcastle United, England), Jung Woo-young (Al Sadd, Qatar), Koo Ja-cheol (FC Augsburg, Germany), Nam Tae-hee (Al Duhail, Qatar), Lee Jin-hyun (Pohang Steelers), Lee Seung-woo (Hellas Verona, Italy)

Forwards (6): Lee Jae-sung (Holstein Kiel, Germany), Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Moon Seon-min (Incheon United), Hwang Hee-chan (Hamburger SV, Germany), Suk Hyun-jun (Stade de Reims, France), Hwang Ui-jo (Gamba Osaka)

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