Will coach Hwang Sun-hong pull out a new card?

The South Korean national team, coached by interim head coach Hwang Sun-hong, will take on Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, at 9:30 p.m. KST on June 26 in the fourth match of Group C of the Asian second qualifying round for the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026.

The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in the third leg at Seoul World Cup Stadium on June 21. Hwang Sun-hong is determined to get three points against Thailand away from home.

Just as important as victory is a stable team. South Korean soccer has been on shaky ground since its semifinal exit at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar last month.

Hwang has been leading the team on an interim basis since former coach Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany) left the national team. As a temporary coach, he hasn’t imposed a clear style, but has been more concerned with finding the right combination of players to work well together.

The team’s struggles against relative underdogs Thailand left question marks across all positions, especially in the midfield.

Under Klinsmann, the combination of Hwang In-beom (Zvezda) and Park Yong-woo (Al-Ain) was the starting lineup.

With Hwang In-beom’s high energy and ability to get forward, and Park Yong-woo’s tall stature but good footwork and defense, it was the perfect choice in theory.

However, under Klinsmann’s system,

There was a lot of straightforward forward and flanking movement rather than a more organized play through the middle, 안전놀이터 추천 which led to a lack of stability. Furthermore, Park Yong-woo’s subpar performances at the Asian Cup led to his omission from the March roster.

In his place, Baek Seung-ho (Birmingham) and Jung Ho-yeon (Gwangju FC) were called up, and Hwang’s first choice was In-beom Hwang and Seung-ho Baek.

Both players ticked all the boxes in terms of offense, defense, and activity that a midfielder should have, but they were lacking in terms of chemistry.

Hwang In-beom and Baek Seung-ho are the type of players who shine when paired with a professional defensive midfielder who can support them when they go forward, but neither of them are very good defenders and struggled a bit against opposition pressure.

Therefore, in the second match against Thailand, a specialized defensive midfielder will be deployed up front, and finding that pairing will be a key factor in creating more stability.

One such defensive midfielder on the roster is Park Jin-seob (Jeonbuk Hyundai). He plays as a central defender for his club, but has shown solid performances at the Asian Cup as a defensive midfielder.

Jeong Ho-Yeon could also be an option. He’s new to the Korean national team, but his performances for Gwangju in the K League 1 are enough to make him a solid addition to the Korean midfield.

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