The most determined ‘shooting monsters’…and a spectacular ‘last dance’

“I think I have a good pace for my team and I feel confident. It’s my last tournament with the national team by age group, and I want to win a medal.”

Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon Sangmu), who was selected for the Hangzhou Asian Games, said this in front of the media at the media day held at Paju NFC on the 14th.

The Hangzhou Asian Games men’s soccer team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, has been on a goal-scoring spree and will meet host China in the quarterfinals. After scoring 21 goals and conceding just one in the group stage and round of 16 matches, Hwang is on pace for gold.

Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart) leads the tournament with five goals, backed up by Cho Young-wook, who has been at the peak of his goal-scoring powers this season, with three. As he did in Gimcheon, he’s been making excellent off-the-ball moves and has been the go-to guy for Hwang Sun-hong.캡틴토토

This tournament will be Cho’s last for the national team at any age group. According to the official records of the Korea Football Association, Cho has made 82 appearances for his country at age group level, including the Asian Games. He started with six games (three points) for the U-14 national team, followed by 46 games (21 points) for the U-20 national team and 30 games (13 points) for the U-23 national team.

Since his time with FC Seoul, it has been jokingly suggested that he might play for FC Korea. He’s played a lot of games, but he’s also done a lot of good. He shocked the world at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland with his current coach Jeong Jung-yong at Gimcheon by writing the ‘Final Myth’.

Cho Young-wook enlisted in the military in January to fulfill his military service and donned the Gimcheon jersey. In Gimcheon, he completely fixed his weakness of “goal determination”. He scored 13 goals in 28 league games this season and was leading the K League 2 in scoring before joining Hwang Sunghong.

With his form at its peak, it was inevitable that Cho would be called up by coach Hwang Seon-hong, and he was. In his final age-group tournament, he is doing his part. He scored two goals against Kuwait in the first round of the group stage and helped drive home a crucial winner against Kyrgyzstan in the round of 16.

He now faces a tough opponent, China. China’s inconsistent performances at the tournament have favored South Korea, but the hosts will have the advantage. Furthermore, there is no video assistant referee (VAR), so we don’t know what will happen.

Beating China will further increase the likelihood of Cho’s ‘early retirement’. In 2018, Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos) completed his military service early after winning gold at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. It will be interesting to see if Cho Young-wook can make a splash in his age group’s ‘last dance’.

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