The Korean women’s national soccer team is trying to regain its honor in the Hangzhou Asian Games, which are about to open.
In past Asian Games, there have been repeated incidents of the team collapsing before reaching the finals. The best result was a bronze medal. In the 2018 Jakarta/Palembang tournament, where Korea was confident of its first win, it met Japan in the semifinals and was eliminated 1-2.
This year, five years later, Korea took the opportunity to take revenge and create a new history. If Korea, which is tied in Group E with Myanmar (22nd), Philippines (25th), and Hong Kong (28th) in the group stage of the Hangzhou Asian Games, advances to the quarterfinals by finishing first in the group, there is a high possibility of meeting Japan in Group D. Unlike usually the 1st and 2nd place teams from the group stage face each other in the tournament, in this tournament, the 1st place teams from Group D and Group E, which are comprised of four teams each, meet in the quarterfinals.
National team coach Colin Bell said emphatically, “I don’t understand why the leaders of the group stage are meeting each other, but I will only focus on winning (from the group stage to the quarterfinals against Japan).”
Japan is a powerhouse classified as the top women’s soccer team in Asia. In the 2023 Australia-New Zealand Women’s World Cup, the only loss was to Spain, the winning team. However, Korea also boasts formidable potential, finishing second in last year’s Women’s Asian Cup, so it is considered a match worth taking on.
What Coach Bell believes in is the revival of midfielder Lee Min-ah (32, Hyundai Steel)메이저사이트. Lee Min-ah, who left the field last December due to a ruptured cruciate ligament, regained her Taegeuk mark after nine months and participated in the Asian Games. Minah Lee expressed her strong will, saying, “I will run with that heart when I first start.” Minah Lee is not only a player who scored a make-up goal against Japan in the Jakarta/Palembang tournament, but also has experience in Japan’s WE League (Ainak Kobe, 2018-2019), so she knows Japan better than anyone else.
It is evaluated that if Lee Min-ah, who has excellent skills and a wide perspective, plays her part, the national team’s offense will also revive. In particular, it is expected that she will be a perfect match with striker Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC Women), who was silent at the Women’s World Cup.
Lee Min-ah emphasized, “As I was unable to participate in the World Cup (due to injury) and focused on rehabilitation, my motivation for this tournament grew even more.”
Cheon Garam (Hwacheon KSPO), who left a deep impression at the Women’s World Cup, is also aiming for a gold medal with her first international goal in this tournament. Garam Cheon said, “The goal is of course the gold medal,” and pledged, “Personally, I want to increase my attack points by playing in all three group stage games.”
The national team will depart for the final match site, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, on the 19th and enter the group stage.