Captain Cho So-hyun to miss out on Olympic qualifiers
Korea’s captain Cho So-hyun will miss the Olympic women’s football qualifying tournament this week with an ankle injury.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said Cho has suffered a right ankle sprain and will not compete in the third round in the Asian qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Coached by Englishman Colin Bell, Korea will host Myanmar at Jeju World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo, Jeju, at 7 p.m. today to kick off Group A action. Korea will then face Vietnam next Sunday at the same venue.
The top two teams from Group A will advance to the playoff round, going up against the top two nations from Group B — made up of Australia, China, Thailand and Chinese Taipei. In the home-and-home series to take place on March 6 and 11, the Group A winner will face the Group B runner-up, while the Group B winner will play the Group A runner-up.
Only the victorious teams from these two series will compete at Tokyo 2020.
Cho, who plays for West Ham United FC Women, captained Korea at the past two FIFA Women’s World Cups, in 2015 and 2019. The 31-year-old midfielder has 126 caps, which would have been the most on this iteration of the national team.
The KFA said a 19-year-old collegiate midfielder Park Hye-jeong will take Cho’s spot on the team. Park has appeared in nine matches for the U-20 national team but has yet to play for the senior squad.
In another bit of injury-related news Sunday, defender Eo Hee-jin was dropped from Bell’s team with a right calf contusion. Kim Hye-yeong was named as her replacement.
Women’s football joined the Olympics in 1996, and Korea, dubbed the Taeguk Ladies, have never played at the quadrennial event.