Midfielder Hong Hyun-seok (24, KAA Hent) of the Korean national soccer team was eventually eliminated due to injury ahead of the first game of the second qualifying round for the World Cup. Defender Park Jin-seop (28, Jeonbuk Hyundai) was the one who received the honor of unexpectedly joining the national team on behalf of Hong Hyun-seok. Park Jin-seop was finally honored to be selected for the A national team for the first time after growing up after playing in the third division in the past.
The South Korean national soccer team (ranked 24th in FIFA rankings) led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann will play the first Group C match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup (co-hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico) against Singapore (ranked 155th in FIFA rankings) at Seoul World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. on the 16th. He will then play the second game against China at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in China at 9 p.m. on the 21st.
It is the first game in which Korean soccer is taking its first step toward the 2026 World Cup. Singapore is a team that is considered one level lower than Korea, so Korea is expected to win easily.
However, bad news occurred for the national team ahead of the match. Midfielder Hong Hyun-seok, who impressed coach Klinsmann, was unable to join due to injury. 토토사이트
The Korea Football Association said in the morning of the 16th, “Hong Hyun-seok was excluded due to injury. We selected defender Park Jin-seop as a substitute, he said. “Park Jin-seop joined the national team on the night of the 15th.”
According to the Korea Football Association, Hong Hyun-seok conducted an examination at a hospital because he felt uncomfortable in his left shin ahead of an official training session on the 15th. As a result of the examination, a slight fatigue fracture was found in the left tibia.
The Korea Football Association said, “It is not a serious injury that can be exercised. However, in the case of the first examination of a fatigue fracture, the medical team judged that early management was important. In order to prevent further injuries, the decision was made to exclude Hong Hyun-seok in order to give him a break, he said. “Hong Hyun-seok will be called off after observing the match against Singapore.”
Hong Hyun-seok made a strong impression on Korean soccer fans by performing well at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games after being selected for the A national team for the first time this year.
Hong Hyun-seok is a graduate of Hyundai High School, Ulsan Hyundai Youth, and joined Ulsan Hyundai in 2018. However, as soon as he joined Ulsan, he left for SpVg Unter Hahing in Germany’s third division and began his European life. In the first season, he gained experience by playing for the youth team. Hong Hyun-seok then made his senior debut in the 2018-2019 season and completely transferred to LASK Linz in 2020 after going through FC Unioz, a club under LASK Linz in the Austrian league. In October 2021, he started the third Group A match between Alashkert (Armenia) and UEFA Europa Conference League, scoring his debut goal after transferring to LASK Linz in the 35th minute of the first half.
Hong Hyun-seok, who played an active role in Austria’s prestigious LASK Linz, transferred to KAA Hent in Belgium ahead of the 2022-23 season. At that time, the transfer fee was estimated to be about 1.5 million euros (about 2.1 billion won, based on Transfer Markt). After moving to Hent, Hong Hyun-seok quickly began to solidify his position as he did in the Austrian league. In October last year, he played as a starter in the 11th round of the Belgian Zoopiller League in the 2022-2023 season with KAS Oepen and proved his true value by scoring his first multi-goal since entering the European stage.
Hong Hyun-suk was also called to the national team by age and walked his way. Following the 2014-2016 Korean U-17 youth team, he joined the U-23 national team in June last year at the invitation of Hwang Sun-hong, head coach of the U-23 national team, and played the ground as a midfielder in the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.
There was another person who paid attention to Hong Hyun-seok, so it was Jurgen Klinsmann, the national team coach. Andreas Harechock, the senior coach who assists coach Klinsmann, began to pay attention by watching Hong Hyun-seok play in person. In the end, he was honored to be selected for the A national team for the first time in June. Hong Hyun-suk played as a substitute in a friendly match against Peru in June and made his A-match debut. He then started for the first time in a friendly match against Wales in Europe in September and played well until he was replaced in the 16th minute of the second half.
Afterwards, Hong Hyun-seok played only the match against Wales due to the Asian Games schedule, then moved to Hangzhou, China, and joined Hwang Sun-hong. Despite the difficult schedule between Europe and Asia, Hong Hyun-suk did his part. In particular, in the men’s soccer quarterfinals at the Asian Games, he showed off his talent by scoring a fantastic left-footed free-kick shot against China in the 18th minute of the first half. Hong Hyun-seok, who held the gold medal with three Asian Games goals, was called by Klinsmann ahead of friendly matches with Tunisia and Vietnam last month. And again, he joined the Klinsmann, but due to an unexpected injury, he had to promise the next time.
Hong Hyun-seok told reporters in an interview prior to the national team’s call-up, “The five major European leagues have long been the goal.” Of course, I don’t think I’m going to a good league just because I got military service benefits. “The future is more important,” he said. “I was able to grow while playing in Belgium a lot.” I think it can be a foothold for young players to go to a higher league,” he said. Hong Hyun-suk also said, “We lack a lot of defense. “We need to develop in areas where we are involved by receiving the ball from a position lower than the third line,” he said. “When I was young, I played in the German third division.” I want to try it again as I’m used to it. Of course, he expressed his ambition, saying, “I want to play in the English Premier League (EPL).”
Coach Klinsmann called up only three players from the A match list this November, including Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), Kim Young-kwon, and Jung Seung-hyun (Ulsan Hyundai). Klinsmann said earlier, “Only 23 players can be registered for the World Cup qualification list. “I took three forward strikers out of the center back because I thought they were good and necessary,” he said, explaining why he picked fewer central defensive resources.
As a result, a new card called Park Jin-seop was created on the central defender line, which originally had only three players. Klinsmann is in a situation where he can evenly deploy central defenders and arrange his physical strength. Park Jin-seop contributed to the hunt for gold medals with a wild card at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. This is the first time that he has been selected for the A national team.
I’m Park Jin-seop, who is writing the story of human victory. Park Jin-seop, who boasts a physique of 184 centimeters and 80 kilograms, started his career with Daejeon Korail in the National League (third division, now disappeared) in 2017 after graduating from Jeonju Technical High School. He then moved to Ansan Greeners of the K League 2 ahead of the 2018 season and changed his uniform to Daejeon Hana Citizen in the 2020 season.
Park Jin-seop then joined Jeonbuk Hyundai prior to the 2022 season and played as Jeonbuk’s main central defender throughout the season. Park Jin-seop, who scored two goals in a total of 33 games, was honored with the K League 1 Best 11. He is also active in the K-League this season. He is in charge of Jeonbuk’s back door with one goal and two assists in 29 games. In particular, at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, he also showed his bandaged fighting spirit in the final against Japan. Attention is also focusing on whether Park Jin-seop will be able to make his A-match debut in this match against Singapore and China.
Meanwhile, ahead of the showdown, Klinsmann said, “It’s an important start. The World Cup qualifiers are quite long. “We need to start well,” he said about Singapore’s strength, adding, “Singapore is never a weak team. I went to Singapore and watched it in person, but Ryan City (Singapore Club) beat Jeonbuk. I took it as a warning to our national team. We need to prepare more seriously. Singapore has enough players to score on counterattacks and set plays. “I’ve finished analyzing the players,” he said, showing an attitude of not letting his guard down.