It’s a valuable practice test.
The South Korea Under-22 National Team, coached by Hwang Sun-hong, will take on the France U-21 National Team in a friendly at 2:30 a.m. ET today at Stade Ocean in Le Havre, France. This is a double-edged sword. First, it’s a chance to see where we stand against a strong opponent ahead of the Asian Final Qualifier for the Paris Olympics and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup in Qatar next April. The Olympic qualifiers are a tough nut to crack. Japan, Uzbekistan, and others have started their Olympic preparations early. The Asian stage is leveling up and promises to be fiercely competitive. The top three teams in the tournament will qualify directly for the Olympic Games. Fourth place will be decided by the fourth-place finisher in the African qualifiers and an intercontinental playoff. South Korean soccer is aiming to become the world’s first team to qualify for 10 consecutive Olympic Games.
At the same time, it’s a great opportunity to get a feel for the level and weight of the competition. France is the host nation and they have a lot riding on this Olympics. While Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), one of the best players in the world, is a wildcard entry, the French Football Association has handed the baton to ‘legend’ Thierry Henry to lead the team to gold.
France, who are currently in the midst of qualifying for the 2025 European U-21 Championship in Slovakia, were without key members of their squad for the match against South Korea. Captain and PSG sensation Warren Zaire Emery has been called up to the France A squad, leaving a gap in the midfield, but the team has plenty of star quality in the form of Bayern Munich superstar Mathis Thiel, who plays alongside Kim Min-jae, Lyon’s key striker Layan Sherki, defender Castello Rukeba, who joined Leipzig for €34 million this summer, and Chelsea wing-back Malo Gusto. After suffering their first defeat since Henri’s arrival on Sept. 18 against Austria (0-2), France are determined to change the tone in South Korea. 토토사이트
Hwang Sun-hong, who left the country on the 13th, played his first practice match in France on the 18th. The team drew 0-0 with Le Havre AC of the French Ligue 1. Le Havre is a formidable team, ranked 7th out of 18 teams in Ligue 1 this season. Unlike Le Havre, who kept the number of substitutions to a minimum, Hwang focused on checking their technique. He made different substitutions in the first and second halves to test the players. Of the 24 players who were called up for the trip to France, 23 took the field except for Jang Si-young (Cheonan). Despite the lack of organizational perfection, a clean sheet was a big win.
Hwang plans to use the match against France, one of the top teams in Europe, to gain both experience and testing. This could be a valuable opportunity for the younger players, who have not been able to gain enough experience due to COVID-19. That’s exactly what Hwang wants.