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Soccer Coach Releases Roster for 2 Friendlies This Month

Soccer Coach Releases Roster for 2 Friendlies This Month

Posted November. 03, 2009 08:27,   


Kwak Tae-hee (Jeonnam Dragons), dubbed the “goal-scoring defender” and “national soccer team coach Huh Jung-moo’s crown price,” has made the national squad again.

Huh held a news conference at Football Hall in Seoul yesterday to announce the 25-man roster to play in friendly matches against Denmark Nov. 15 and Serbia Nov. 18.

Kwak is a defender but has scored three goals in seven A-match games, showing outstanding performance on both offense and defense. He was knocked out of action due to knee surgery in Korea’s World Cup qualifier against the United Arab Emirates Oct. 15 last year, but will return to the field for the first time in 13 months.

Kim Doo-hyun (Suwon Samsung Bluewings) also made the roster for the first time in 14 months. He last played against North Korea in a World Cup qualifier in September last year.

Moreover, Cha Du-ri of Germany’s Freiburg and Lee Dong-guk, the top scorer in the K-league for Jeonbuk Hyundai, also returned to the team.

Eleven players playing abroad who played in a friendly versus Senegal Oct. 14, including Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung, were also summoned. The team will assemble Friday at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, before departing for Denmark the following day.

Europe-based players including Park will join the team there. Ki Sueng-young and Kim Chi-woo of FC Seoul, which advanced to the playoff round of six teams in the K-League, Kim Jung-woo and Chung Seong-ryong (Seongnam Ilhwa), and Kwak will return to Korea after playing in the Denmark game Nov. 15.

The following is a summary of the news conference.

Question: What were the criteria in your selection of players?

Huh: In our upcoming European tour, I will focus on checking players active in foreign leagues. I will examine players in Korea first until winter training in January and single out those to play in next year’s World Cup.

Question: The roster includes the injured Park Ji-sung. Have you consulted with the Manchester United coach?

Huh: I haven’t consulted with coach Alex Ferguson but I’ve held adequate conversations with Park Ji-sung. His club could have different positions but what matters is Park’s own condition.

Question: Will you finish assessing overseas-based players through the upcoming friendly matches?

Huh: Ahn Jung-hwan (Dalian Shide of China’s Super League) is a player with a proven track record. He is in good condition, and when we deem it necessary, we could bring him in for the main event.

Question: What made you include Kwak Tae-hee?

Huh: I looked at Korean players who could be competitive in the World Cup. I needed players who can handle taller and stronger European players.

Question: For Korea to advance to the second round in the World Cup, the key will be to beat European teams. Will the upcoming two friendly matches be enough to prepare your players?

Huh: We plan to continue playing friendly matches. The national team will run a winter training camp and play friendly matches against European, Latin American and African teams in March and May next year. Before entering South Africa, we will also play a friendly against a European team at a training camp to open in Europe.