From left, Lee Jae-sung, Jurgen Klinsmann, Cho Kyu-sung pose at CGV Yongsan in Seoul, Dec. 28. Yonhap

Featuring two of the top goal scorers in the Premier League and one of the best defenders in Europe this season, Korea will field one of the most talented teams at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar next month .Whether the on-paper talent can translate to on-field success will be an entirely different matter, but head coach Jurgen Klinsmann expressed his confidence Thursday when he unveiled his 26-man squad for the top Asian competition .”I really just believe in our team. I believe in this Korean team that they can make it happen because we have so much quality with so many good players doing really well,” Klinsmann said at his press conference at the CGV Yongsan movie theater in Seoul. “I think we’re capable of winning this Asian Cup. It takes a lot of work and a lot of special moments, but it’s absolutely doable. Therefore, I can’t wait until this tournament starts. “The competition begins Jan. 12, 2024 and Korea’s first Group E match is Jan. 15 against Bahrain. They will later play Jordan on Jan. 20, 2024 and Malaysia on Jan. 25, 2024.Korea will try to win their first Asian Cup since 1960. Klinsmann said the country was long overdue to get the job done, with Japan, Korea’s longtime rivals, likely standing in the way .If both countries win their respective groups, they can only meet each other in the final. “It’s something special, this rivalry,” Klinsmann said, adding that he had his own taste of bitter rivalries when he played for Germany against the Netherlands and when he coached the United States against Mexico. “It’d be amazing if we meet (Japan), hopefully in the final.” There were few surprises for Klinsmann’s team. Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur, currently tied for fourth in the Premier League with 11 goals, will be back as captain. Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers, who has a career-high 10 goals already this season, was another no-brainer choice. Leading the defense corps will be Bayern Munich center back Kim Min-jae, who was voted the best defender in the top Italian league, Serie A, while playing for Napoli last season.

Korea’s midfield will feature Lee Kang-in, who signed for the French champions Paris Saint-Germain this past summer. Klinsmann likened Lee’s recent development to “a flower that starts to bloom.” “You want your players to peak exactly at the time when the tournament happens. I have a good feeling because they’re doing well at the clubs; they’re healthy, they’re fit, they’re ambitious, and they’re hungry,” he said. “This is the foundation for playing a good tournament. You hope as a coach that they will carry this confidence and this quality into the national team in order to make something special happen in Qatar for the Asian Cup. “One minor surprise was the inclusion of the 19-year-old defender Kim Ji-soo, who has been playing for Brentford’s B team in England. As the Asian Cup squad expanded from 23 to 26 players this time, Klinsmann said it afforded him a chance to take young players such as Kim to Qatar and give them a chance to work with international veterans. Klinsmann said situations out of his control forced him to make some tough choices. Norwich City forward Hwang Ui-jo has been suspended by the Korea Football Association from international play while he’s undergoing a police investigation into allegations that he’d filmed a sexual encounter with a woman without her consent. Midfielder Son Jun-ho, another national team mainstay, has been in detention in China since May in an apparent bribery case, with no signs of an immediate release. “Those kinds of situations make it difficult for coaches because you’re helpless,” Klinsmann said. “You can’t solve those problems. It’s in the power of authorities. “The coach said he had more than enough options to fill the void of the two missing players. Son, for instance, can play up front or roam all over the field just below the striker. Hwang Hee-chan has proven himself as a capable scorer in the top English league this season. “We have a lot of different pieces in this roster. It makes us one of the favorites for the Asian Cup,” Klinsmann said. “I think what we need to do is to fine-tune these elements in the next couple of weeks 온라인카지노 and go into that tournament with confidence. We have the willingness to win the title.”

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