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Soccer Coach Explains Final WC Team Cuts

Posted June. 02, 2010 18:38,   


Like a James Bond movie, Korean reporters were informed of the national soccer team`s final 23-man roster for the World Cup at 8 p.m. Monday instead of the originally scheduled time of 9 a.m. Tuesday.

In consideration of the players dropped from the team, the Korea Football Association decided to advance the announcement.

Head coach Huh Jung-moo and a public relations staff member from the association held a 15-minute news conference at Hotel Cappella in Neustift, Austria, where Korean reporters are staying.

Huh initially looked calm but when he announced the names of the three players cut -- Lee Keun-ho, Shin Hyung-min and Koo Ja-cheol -- he looked confused. When he said, “Lee Keun-ho,” reporters expressed surprise since Lee was expected to make the team.

Q: How did you select the 23 players?

Huh: We made our decision based on opinions from medical and physical training staff and coaches. The results of training also played an important role. We made the final decision at a meeting today.

Q: Why were the three players cut?

Huh: Lee Keun-ho was given a lot of opportunities but he stayed in a slump too long. Shin Hyung-min showed a poor performance in the game against Belarus. We had no choice but to exclude Koo Ja-cheol because of overlapping positions.

Q: What did you find the most difficult in selecting players?

Huh: Selecting a player for forward was the most difficult because Lee Dong-gook is not in good shape. Because we have no clear options for offense, deciding who should be excluded was difficult.

Q: Lee Keun-ho showed a good performance in preliminary games.

Huh: Because of this, we regret having to cut him. But almost all of our players are strong physically. Most of them have adapted well, but Lee Keun-ho was in a slump for too long.

Q: What steps did you take before making the final cuts?

Huh: We took a close look at every player. Given the situation in which we want to focus all of our energy on the three group games at the World Cup, we considered who can play well in the three games and help the team. We will individually inform the players cut after returning home.

Q: Is there anything else you`re doing to prepare for the World Cup?

Huh: I`ll assume all responsibility. If I do my best and have no fear, I`ll be satisfied. I`ll go to South Africa with a firm determination to achieve success.