Players to return to clubs next weekWith their 2018 FIFA World Cup journey coming to an end, Korea’s national football team players will return home later this week and prepare for fresh starts with their respective clubs.
Korea failed to advance to the round of 16 despite their 2-0 win over defending champions Germany in Kazan, Russia, on Wednesday. Korea finished third in Group F with one win and two draws.
Korea’s 23-man squad flew back to their World Cup base camp in Saint Petersburg hours after they knocked out world No. 1 Germany. The Taeguk Warriors will return home on Friday.
Twelve players who are with the domestic K League will have to restart their campaigns with their respective clubs next week.
The top flight K League 1 is scheduled to resume its 2018 season on July 7. Three Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors players - Lee Jae-sung, Lee Yong and Kim Shin-wook - on the national team may face Moon Seon-min, who featured in two matches at the 2018 World Cup, in their league clash with Incheon United at home.
Goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo, who was the starting goalkeeper for Korea at the 2018 World Cup, is expected to compete in Daegu FC’s uniform on July 8 against FC Seoul, a club that has right back Go Yo-han.
Yun Young-sun and Ju Se-jong, who are with second division clubs Seongnam FC and Asan Mugungwha FC, respectively, will see their clubs having a match on Saturday, but will likely be given a rest.
Three players who play in Japan - Jung Woo-young, Kim Seung-gyu and Jang Hyun-soo - and Kim Young-gwon, who is with Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, are also expected to take some time off before their leagues start in mid-July.
Those who play in Europe will get ready for the new season that starts this summer.
Korea’s ace Son Heung-min will prepare with Tottenham Hotspur for the new English Premier League season kicking off Aug. 11, while FC Augsburg’s Koo Ja-cheol will try to be fit for the German Budesliga opening on Aug. 24.
Korean captain Ki Sung-yueng will be looking for a new club this offseason. The 29-year-old decided to depart Swansea City after the Welsh club was relegated to the second division.
Lee Seung-woo, who experienced his first World Cup at age 20, may also search for a new club following Hellas Verona’s demotion to Serie B in Italy.
Red Bull Salzburg forward Hwang Hee-chan, 22, was linked to a move to EPL and Bundesliga clubs before entering the World Cup and may seek an exit from the Austrian side.
Among the 2018 World Cup members, some players could represent their country against at the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia.
Players may be exempted from their mandatory military service if Korea wins a gold medal in football at the Asian Games.
Son, 25, is one of the players who is mentioned for Asian Games selection since he has yet to complete his military service. The Asiad is open to players under 23, but teams can field three overage players known as “wild cards.”
Hwang and Lee Seung-woo could be also picked for the U-23 team for the Asian Games.
They will need their clubs’ approval to compete at the Asian Games, however. Unlike FIFA organized events, the clubs are not obligated to release their players for the Asian Games.