Hwang Sun-hongho announces two-game series against Thailand in March… Win all three and virtually qualify

Will Hwang Sun-hong, 56, the interim head coach of the South Korean national soccer team, be able to deliver the gift of a ticket to the final qualifying round of the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America? The national team under Hwang’s leadership will make its debut next month.

The Korea Football Association announced on Monday, “The venues and times for the third and fourth matches of Group C of the North American Football Confederations Cup second qualifying round against Thailand next month have been finalized. The third match, a home game, will be held on March 21 at 8 p.m. at Seoul World Cup Stadium. The away match will be played on March 26 at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, 홀덤사이트 Thailand.” South Korea will announce its roster on March 11 and begin training on March 18.

It’s a test for new interim head coach Hwang Sun-hong. The South Koreans are in Group C in the second round of qualifying for the North and Central American World Cup and sit atop the group with a 2-0 record. South Korea is competing in Group C with Thailand, Singapore and China. South Korea defeated Singapore 5-0 in the first leg last November. Cho Kyu-sung (Mitwillan), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Eui-jo (Alanyaspor), and Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) led a goal storm.

South Korea also won 3-0 against China in the second round. Despite the overwhelming support of the Chinese fans, the South Koreans came away with the three points thanks to a multi-goal performance from Son Heung-min and a brace from Jung Seung-hyun (Alwasl).

South Korea, led by interim coach Hwang Sun-hong, can virtually assure themselves of qualification if they win both games against Thailand. Thailand is second in the group with one win and one loss (3 points). The top two teams in each group will qualify for the second round of the World Cup. However, the team’s chances of qualifying for the final round could be in jeopardy if they don’t get satisfactory results in the first two games. Despite being an interim coach, Hwang Sun-hong has a lot on his shoulders.

Hwang Sun-hong took over on an interim basis, replacing Jürgen Klinsmann, who was fired on Nov. 16. Klinsmann was heavily criticized for his poor performance and controversial work behavior. South Korea lost in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar, failing to win their first Asian Cup title in 64 years. Klinsmann sparked the criticism by smiling and congratulating the opposing coach and players after the quarterfinal loss to Jordan. In September last year, he was criticized for asking for Aaron Ramsey’s jersey even though he played poorly in an exhibition match against Wales. He was also criticized for traveling around the world to various events rather than checking on K League players in Korea.

In the end, the KFA fired Klinsmann after the Asian Cup. Afterward, the KFA formed a power strengthening committee centered on the new power strengthening chairman Jung Jung-sung and began the process of appointing a new coach. After the first, second, and third meetings, the committee decided to appoint an interim head coach rather than a permanent one, and Hwang Sun-hong was selected as the interim head coach. Currently, Hwang is also in charge of the U-23 national team, a dual role. This is the third time that Hwang has been the head coach of both the national and Olympic teams. Former coach Heo Jung-moo coached the national team and the Sydney Olympic team from January 1999 to September 2000, and Pim Bearbeck coached the national team and the Doha Asian Games and Beijing Olympic qualifying squads from July 2006 to August 2007.

“We have decided to appoint Hwang Sun-hong, the current head coach of the Olympic team, as the interim head coach. We will also appoint a new permanent head coach in early May so that there will be no interruption in the selection of the head coach for the upcoming A-Match in June.” “We held three meetings in total. In the first meeting, there was talk of an interim coach and a permanent coach with a long-term perspective. There was no discussion of a new coach after that meeting, but after the first meeting, a certain coach was mentioned and controversy ensued, which led to fan dissatisfaction. The committee decided to hire a full-time coach, but if it was not possible to get the support of the public, it was right to change the direction. It was suggested that we take our time and carefully select a coach, even if it takes a while,” he explained.

“It was unreasonable to entrust the two A matches to the incumbent K League manager. It was also difficult to appoint a foreign coach due to the short time given, so we thought it was right to leave it to a coach who is currently in the Football Association.” “There were three candidates for the interim coach, and on the 25th, we proposed the interim coach to Hwang Sun-hong. He asked for time to think about it, and we received confirmation that he would accept.”

As for why they chose Hwang, he said, “There have been cases in other national associations where the A-team coach coaches the U-23 team at the same time. He was the first choice because he has played a lot of international soccer and has a good understanding of Asian soccer.” “During the Paris Olympic qualifiers, we looked at various aspects to see if he could manage the A team as well. During this time, the Olympic team will be competing in a friendly tournament in the Middle East and will be led by the existing coaching staff, with the exception of Hwang Sun-hong. Hwang will have a separate coaching staff during the A-Match. After the A-Match in March, Coach Hwang will return to work with the Olympic team.”

“Korean soccer is in crisis,” said Hwang Sun-hong through the Football Association. When the KFA asked me to cooperate, I was very worried. But I thought I should help in a difficult situation. I decided after much deliberation. We will do our best to get Korean soccer back on track.” “There are many concerns about Korean soccer, and we will take responsibility and do our best to ease your worries. I look forward to your support for the national team and ask for your support.”

Hwang will focus on the U-23 team after the two-game series against Thailand. The U-23 team will compete at the U-23 Asian Cup in Qatar in April, the final qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The team must finish in the top three to qualify for Paris.

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