Kings for now, U-23 squad face next test

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Kings for now, U-23 squad face next test

Korea’s Olympic football team, which won the 41st King’s Cup on Saturday by beating Norway 3-0, will assemble today at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi, after enjoying a brief rest over the Lunar New Year holiday.

The under-23 team, led by coach Hong Myung-bo, returned to Korea on Sunday with trophy in hand. At the friendly tournament held in Bangkok, the Taeguk Warriors beat the host nation 3-1, fought to a goal-less draw with Denmark and then beat Norway 3-0 to claim their first King’s Cup title since 1998.

Hong has described the King’s Cup as a tune-up for Asian qualifiers for this summer’s Olympics. Korea, currently leading Group A with two wins and one loss, has two potentially tricky away games coming up. The team travels to Saudi Arabia on Feb. 5 and Oman on Feb. 22.

The coach is expected to trim the 25-man squad to around 20 players today and send them to Doha, Qatar, for overseas training tomorrow. The team will arrive in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, on Feb. 2.

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