South Korea’s Hwang Sun-hong has returned home after leading his country to a third consecutive Asian Games title with an upset victory over Japan in the men’s soccer final at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
The Asian Games soccer team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, returned to South Korea through Incheon International Airport on Monday afternoon.
Hwang and the Korean Under-24 football team defeated Japan 2-1 in the men’s football final at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China, the previous day, thanks to a late goal by Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon) in the 11th minute after the score was tied 1-1.
South Korea, which also won the 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta-Palembang titles, claimed the first men’s soccer triple in the tournament’s history.
Hwang Sun-hong-ho was an absolute firepower, scoring 27 goals in seven games from the group stage to the final, while Chung Woo-young (Stuttgart) scored eight goals, including the celestial equalizer in the final.
At 7 p.m., coach Hwang Sun-hong, captain Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk), and “ace” Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) arrived at the arrivals hall with beaming smiles on their faces, waving as the 300 fans lined up to greet them with cheers and applause.
Hwang and his 22 players posed for photos with their gold medals around their necks and bouquets of flowers in hand.
Chung Mong-kyu, president of the Korea Football Association, said, “I hope the players returning to their respective teams will perform well and we will see them again in the A team in the future. Congratulations to coach Hwang Sun-hong and his staff.”
Coach Hwang expressed his gratitude, saying, “It was a happy and good memory to be with such a great team of players and coaches, and we were able to build a golden tower of three consecutive Asian Games with the support of the people.”
“We will continue to work hard for the development of Korean soccer in the future. I would also like to give a lot of praise and encouragement to the players.”
Hwang, who had been criticized for his poor scoring and performance before the Asian Games, responded with a smile on his face.
“It’s a little strange to be welcomed after being criticized every day, but I don’t think it’s bad,” Hwang said, before vowing to continue to work hard to be welcomed.
“I think good football is a combination of many things, not just one person,” he said of the team’s 27 goals in seven games from the group stage to the final. “I think the second-string players played well, which led to a good result.”
“It was a very tough game, with Uzbekistan playing a straightforward and powerful game, which made the game a little bit dry,” Hwang said, adding, “I was very dizzy after conceding the first goal in the final against Japan just two minutes into the game.” He laughed.
“I thought we had a chance as long as we didn’t falter psychologically, but fortunately, our captain Baek Seung-ho and Park Jin-seop (Jeonbuk) were able to hold the center of the field, and we regained our pace.”
Now, as Hwang tightens his shoelaces again in preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics, he is eager to take his ‘ace’ Lee Kang-in with him.
“I told (Lee) that he hasn’t gotten a dojo, but he should join us, but it seems to be a ‘question mark,'” Hwang said, “He hasn’t given me a definite answer yet. It’s a secret,” he laughed.
Hwang urged the support of the Korea Football Association, the KFA, and the clubs.
“Japan and Uzbekistan prepare for the tournament for nearly three years. We have only a few call-ups, and even those are uncertain,” he said, adding, “We need support so that we can prepare hard.”
“During the A-match period, of course, and even during the winter training period, we need to have the opportunity to train for even two or three weeks to be competitive,” Hwang said, emphasizing that “if this does not happen, it can be very difficult.”
Yeo Yerin, 25, who had been waiting for the team at Incheon Airport since 9 a.m., said, “Three in a row, it’s amazing, they’re awesome. They conceded the first goal in the final, but I was praying that they could come back,” Yeo said. 스포츠토토