The strikers vying for a spot in national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s (59) squad are brimming with confidence. Competition for the frontline spot has intensified recently with Hwang Eui-jo (31-FC Seoul), Cho Kyu-sung (25-North Hyundai), and Oh Hyun-kyu (22-Celtic) all showing strong form, while the competition for the second striker spot has also intensified after captain Son Heung-min (31-Tottenham) recently underwent hernia surgery.
One of the most confident players is ‘Qatar Star’ Cho Kyu-sung. The tallest frontline striker in the squad (189 centimeters), he raised his profile at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Although he struggled with a calf injury and the aftermath of a failed overseas trip earlier this year, he picked up momentum by scoring multiple goals in a K League 1 match against Gangwon FC on the 11th, the day before the national team was called up.
At the press conference for the call-up training at Gudeok Stadium in Busan on the 14th, Cho said, “I’m in great shape. If (coach Klinsmann) gives me a chance to play, I want to score goals,” he said confidently.
Cho has four goals in nine K League 1 games this season. Compared to last season (17 goals and 4 assists in 31 games), when he was the top scorer in his debut season, his pace has been slower. “Unlike the beginning of the season, I’ve been taking four to five shots per game lately,” he said, adding, “A striker must eventually prove himself with goals.”
“My brother (Hwang) also scored a goal last weekend, and (Oh) Hyun-gyu did well at Celtic, so I’m proud to be a part of the national team and learned a lot,” Cho added. “The coach likes to have numerical superiority in the opponent’s penalty box. When we go on the attack, he advised me to finish with a shot.”안전놀이터
Second-choice striker Na Sang-ho (27-FC Seoul) is also looking to continue his recent form as the second-leading scorer in the K League 1 (eight goals and two assists in 18 games). He was heavily criticized during the tenure of former coach Paulo Bento (Portugal), but his performance at the Qatar World Cup changed that, and he has continued to perform well in the K League. “I always prepared with the idea of increasing the competitiveness of the national team,” said Na Sang-ho, “and I am confident that the confidence I gained at the Qatar World Cup will carry over to the K League 1.”