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S. Korea unveils 25-man provisional squad for U-20 World Cup

All Headlines 11:12 April 03, 2017

By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean under-20 football team head coach Shin Tae-yong on Monday announced a 25-man provisional squad for the upcoming FIFA competition at home.

South Korea will host the FIFA U-20 World Cup from May 20 to June 11 in six cities. The young Taeguk Warriors are in Group A with Argentina, England and Guinea.

The 25 players, including FC Barcelona prospects Lee Seung-woo and Paik Seung-ho, will assemble next Monday at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, to begin preparations for the U-20 World Cup. Shin needs to submit the 21-man final entry list to FIFA by May 8.

Shin, who took the helm last November, said he is very likely to pick the final members for the U-20 World Cup from the provisional squad unless unexpected situations, such as injuries, occur over the course of their preparations.

"It's possible to pick the players who are not on this list if some of them are injured," Shin said during a press conference at the Korea Football Association (KFA) headquarters in Seoul. "But I hope that situation does not happen."

South Korean national under-20 football team head coach Shin Tae-yong speaks during a press conference at the Korea Football Association (KFA) headquarters in Seoul on April 3, 2017. (Yonhap)

Shin said he selected the 25 players after checking them through a monthlong training camp in Portugal earlier this year and a U-20 World Cup test event last month.

Shin's side won the four-nation U-20 football tournament at home in March over Honduras, Zambia and Ecuador. All three nations are also participants in the U-20 World Cup.

"I couldn't really make an evaluation of our team until the four-nation tournament," he said. "But after the tournament, I realized that our team is competitive enough to take on the teams at the World Cup."

Shin, who coached South Korea at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, said those who can play in multiple positions will likely get the nod for the 21-man team.

"I now have a grasp on the characteristics of my players," he said. "I want to pick players who understand my style of football."

On the 25-man list, Shin included defender Jeong Tae-wook, who fell to the ground unconsciousness last week after a collision with a Zambian player at the four-nation tournament. Jeong was later diagnosed with a fractured neck, which will rule him out for four to six weeks, but Shin said the center back will be available for the U-20 World Cup.

"He will be able to train with us, although we have to protect his neck carefully," Shin said. "We believe he will gain fitness before we play our first match on May 20."

Shin said his team will first focus on building up stamina in their training this month before starting tactical practices. South Korea also plan to have two friendly matches in May before the World Cup.

"We plan to have friendly matches on May 11 and May 14 with those who are competing at the World Cup," he said. "Our opponents will be the teams that finished at least second in their regional qualifications."

Following the senior national football team's recent mediocre performances in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, Shin was tabbed by some fans to succeed Uli Stielike, but the 46-year-old South Korean emphasized that his main focus is on leading the U-20 squad.

"I only think about the U-20 World Cup at this point," he said. "I know South Korean football is having a difficult time right now, but I believe we'll be able to get through."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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