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(World Cup) Midfielder grateful for 2nd opportunity in big tournament

All News 22:36 November 26, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

DOHA, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- Even after missing out on his first FIFA World Cup appearance four years ago with an untimely injury, South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon never lost sight of his dreams.

And those dreams may just come true in Qatar, with Kwon having made South Korea's 26-man World Cup squad.

"I never stopped dreaming of playing in a World Cup someday, and I am thankful for this great opportunity to be here with the team," Kwon said at a press conference before a training session at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Saturday. "Now that our tournament is under way, I feel an even greater sense of responsibility. I think this will be an invaluable learning experience for me."

South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon speaks at a press conference before a training session for the FIFA World Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Nov. 26, 2022. (Yonhap)

South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon speaks at a press conference before a training session for the FIFA World Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Nov. 26, 2022. (Yonhap)

The 28-year-old did not play in South Korea's scoreless draw with Uruguay in their first Group H match Thursday. The crafty midfielder may get an opportunity against Ghana on Monday, when his playmaking abilities could come in handy.

"Ghana tend to give up a lot of space behind their fullbacks, and we have some fast wingers," Kwon said. "We also have guys who can penetrate that space or thread passes through those holes. It will be a match where we must exploit our opponents' weaknesses."

On the flip side, Kwon said South Korea must also be careful against aggressive and speedy Ghana attackers, saying they, too, are capable of getting into space behind defense.

South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon speaks at a press conference before a training session for the FIFA World Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Nov. 26, 2022. (Yonhap)

South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon speaks at a press conference before a training session for the FIFA World Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Nov. 26, 2022. (Yonhap)

Kwon added South Korean players have been inspired by recent successes of fellow Asian teams, highlighted by Saudi Arabia's 2-1 shocker over Argentina and Japan's 2-1 win over Germany.

"Since we are in the last group, we were able to watch Saudi Arabia and Japan play, and we could sense their determination and desperation," Kwon said. "And we can match their level of passion, and we showed that against Uruguay."

South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon (L) smiles during a training session for the FIFA World Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Nov. 19, 2022. (Yonhap)

South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon (L) smiles during a training session for the FIFA World Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Nov. 19, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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