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Korea unveils 23-man roster for pre-World Cup training camp

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Published : 2014-01-02 19:23
Updated : 2014-01-02 19:23

South Korea on Thursday named 23 footballers from the domestic and Japanese leagues who will participate in a training camp in Brazil and the United States ahead of this year’s FIFA World Cup.

The Korea Football Association said 20 players from the K League Classic and three from the J. League will join the camp from Jan. 13 to Feb. 2.

With European seasons in full swing, national team head coach Hong Myung-bo called up players from the Asian leagues, whose new seasons won’t begin until March. Those playing for Middle Eastern or Chinese clubs also won’t be able to join Hong because of their commitments.

The camp will open in Foz do Iguacu in Brazil on Jan. 13, and then move to Los Angeles eight days later, according to the KFA.

In the U.S., South Korea will take on three World Cup participants in friendly matches: Costa Rica on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles, Mexico on Jan. 29 in San Antonio and the U.S. in Carson on Feb. 1.

South Korea, which has qualified for its eighth consecutive World Cup, is paired with Belgium, Russia and Algeria in Group H.

South Korea has made it out of the group stage twice: it reached the semifinals in 2002, when it co-hosted the World Cup with Japan, and advanced to the round of 16 in 2010 in South Africa, before losing to Uruguay.

South Korea is expected to have nearly a dozen players from overseas in the final World Cup roster. Hong said the upcoming camp will be an opportunity for K League Classic or J. League players to make an impression and build a case for inclusion in the World Cup.

“No one player is 100 percent guaranteed to make the World Cup team,” Hong said. “Some players have proven themselves more than others, but there’s still some time left. Roster spots will be open for those who have a good camp this month.”

From the domestic circuit, left winger Yeom Ki-hun of Suwon Bluewings and defensive back Kang Min-soo of Ulsan Hyundai were members of the 2010 World Cup team. Holding midfielder Lee Ho, playing for the military club Sangju Sangmu, is a veteran of the 2006 World Cup.

Two defensive backs, Kim Dae-ho of Pohang Steelers and Lee Ji-nam of Daegu FC, will be training with the national team for the first time.

Up front, Ulsan striker Kim Shin-wook will lead the attack. He has emerged as a viable offensive option for Hong in recent friendly matches.

The three J. League players in the camp will be: fullback Kim Jin-su of Albirex Niigata, central defender Hwang Seok-ho of Sanfrecce Hiroshima and midfielder Kim Min-woo of Sagan Tosu. (Yonhap News)

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