‘Fortunate among the unfortunate’ Yang Hyun-joon-Kim Ji-soo unavailable

FC Seoul midfielder Baek Sang-hoon will join the Olympic team led by Hwang Sun-hong as normal. 

“Baek Sang-hoon, who was included in the 23-man roster for the final Olympic qualifiers, received a medical examination this morning and was cleared to join the team, and will depart for Dubai via flight EK0325 at 11:05 p.m. today,” the Korea Football Association said on Monday.

Baek has been named to the Olympic team, which will compete in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup 2024 and the Asian Final Qualifier for the Paris Olympics in Qatar starting on July 17. In addition to Kim, the Olympic team has called up a number of overseas players, including Bae Jun-ho (Stoke City), Kim Min-woo (Düsseldorf), Jung Sang-bin (Minnesota United), and Yang Hyun-joon (Celtic FC). 

However, Hwang received some unwelcome news. Celtic declared Yang Hyun-joon unavailable due to team circumstances. Yang came on as a second-half substitute in both of Celtic’s two league games last month, on March 31 and on March 7. The federation eventually named Incheon United’s Hong Si-hoo as his replacement.

In addition, Kim Ji-soo, the last line defense, was not included. ”As Kim Ji-soo’s club Brentford, which was included in the 23-man roster for the final qualifying round, has finally informed us that it will not be able to withdraw the player due to team circumstances, the federation has selected Kim Dong-jin (Pohang Steelers) as a replacement,” the federation officially announced at 11 a.m. on Aug. 8.

To make matters worse, Baek Sang-hoon also suffered a knee injury. On the afternoon of the 6th, the KFA announced that “Baek Sang-hoon will be treated for a knee injury in Korea and will decide whether or not to join the team after observing his recovery.” Luckily, Baek was able to join the Olympic team after a knee examination cleared him to participate. 

Baek is a 22-year-old midfield resource born in 2002. He is a typical box-to-box midfielder who moves the ball up and down the field with his concise 먹튀검증 passing and quickness. Although he is a good defender, he has also played on the wing during his youth career and is considered to be an attacking player. 

Baek Sang-hoon is a former FC Seoul youth player from Seoul Osan Middle School and Seoul Osan High School. He officially joined the club on January 1, 2021, through a priority rookie designation. To this day, he still plays exclusively for Seoul, as he can be said to be a product of the Seonggol youth program. 

In 2021, Baek was guaranteed a lot of playing time in his debut season, making 18 appearances for the first team. Last season, he was labeled as a non-factor under Ahn Ik-Su, but slowly started to get more playing time under acting head coach Kim Jin-gyu. Eventually, Baek signed a new contract with Seoul ahead of the 2024 season. 

It was during his time with the age-group national team that Baek really came into his own. He played at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he helped South Korea reach the round of 16, and was also called up to the U-19 squad led by Kim Jung-soo. 

Hwang Sun-hong’s worries about Yang Hyun-joon and Kim Ji-soo’s non-call-ups have been eased with the addition of Baek Sang-hoon. Baek is scheduled to depart for Dubai on Aug. 8 at 11:05 p.m., where the Olympic team is currently based. 

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