Son Heung-Min, Ki Sung-Yueng highlight youthful South Korea World Cup squad
On-loan Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young got the nod for South Korea’s World Cup campaign when he was included in a youthful squad for the tournament in Brazil on Thursday.
Park, currently at Watford and back in favour after a row over his national service, was among nine Europe-based players included in coach Hong Myung-Bo’s final, 23-man line-up.
The 28-year-old is one of just five survivors from South Korea’s run to the last 16 in 2010, and Kwak Tae-Hwi, 32, is the only player aged over 30.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung-Min and Koo Ja-Cheol of Mainz will join Park in attack, while Sunderland’s Ki Sung-Yueng, Cardiff’s Kim Bo-Kyung and Bolton’s Lee Chung-Yong were also picked.
Only six domestic-based players made the cut, including Ulsan Hyundai forward Kim Shin-Wook, the reigning K-League Classic MVP, and 2012 Asian player of the year Lee Keun-Ho.
“It’s a young team but our players don’t lack in experience,” said Hong. “They all play in competitive leagues. This may not be Korea’s greatest World Cup squad ever assembled but I can assure you we will work hard to be one.”
Park, with 24 goals in 62 matches, now has his chance to play against Algeria, Belgium and Russia in Group H – a prospect which seemed remote during his spell on the Arsenal bench.
But Park, after loan periods at Celta Vigo and now Watford, played his way into contention by scoring the winner against Greece in a friendly in March.
In 2012, Park had to make a public apology after he deferred his compulsory military service by obtaining a 10-year Monaco residency visa.
Ki, who is on loan at Sunderland from Swansea City, is likely to be reunited with Guangzhou R&F’s Park Jong-Woo, his midfield partner when South Korea won Olympic bronze in 2012.
Guangzhou Evergrande’s Kim Young-Gwon and FC Augsburg’s Hong Jeong-Ho will be South Korea’s centre-half pairing, in front of 2010 ‘keeper Jung Sung-Ryong.
Mainz fullback Park Joo-Ho, who is out of action with a foot injury, was the only notable snub.
Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-Ryong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Seung-Gyu (Ulsan Hyundai), Lee Bum-Young (Busan IPark)
Defenders: Hong Jeong-Ho (Augsburg), Hwang Seok-Ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Kim Chang-Soo (Kashiwa Reysol), Kim Jin-Soo (Albirex Niigata), Kim Young-Gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Kwak Tae-Hwi (Al Hilal), Lee Yong (Ulsan Hyundai), Yun Suk-Young (Queens Park Rangers)
Midfielders: Ha Dae-Sung (Beijing Guoan), Han Kook-Young (Kashiwa Reysol), Ji Dong-Won (FC Augsburg), Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland), Kim Bo-Kyung (Cardiff City), Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton Wanderers), Park Jong-Woo (Guangzhou R&F), Son Heung-Min (Bayer Leverkusen)
Forwards: Kim Shin-Wook (Ulsan Hyundai), Koo Ja-Cheol (Mainz), Lee Keun-Ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-Young (Watford)
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Published: May 8, 2014 04:00 AM