South Korea’s head gatekeeper Kim Seung-gyu returns to South Korea to undergo surgery. Kim Jun-hong will fly to Qatar as his practice partner.
The Korea Football Association announced on Feb. 22 (local time), “Kim Seung-gyu will be released from the team at 11 p.m. today and will return home on QR858. Upon returning home, he will immediately undergo surgery and begin recovery and rehabilitation.” “In addition, since the tournament is quite far away, it is difficult to train with two goalkeepers, so Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon Sangmu), who was called up to the national team for the European tour in September and the domestic friendly A match in October last year, has been called up as a training partner.”
“Kim Seung-kyu is injured, but since the first match has passed under the competition rules, it is not possible to register a replacement, so Kim Jun-hong was called as a practice partner instead of a substitute, so he will not be registered for the competition and will sit in the stands instead of sitting in the technical seat on game days.” Kim will arrive in the country on the 23rd and will start training in the morning.
Since Klinsmann’s appointment, Kim Seung-gyu has been in goal for the majority of the team’s matches. Including the last match against Jordan, Klinsmann has played a total of 13 matches. In 10 of those games, Kim put the gloves on, meaning that Klinsmann had complete confidence in him.
Alongside Kim Seung-kyu, goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo has established a competitive system. Cho Hyun-woo has also earned his place in every call-up. Cho Hyun-woo was in goal for South Korea in three of the 13 matches. He pulled on the gloves against Uruguay in March, Vietnam in October and Jordan at the Asian Cup.
But then something went wrong. Goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu was injured in training before the Jordan game. The situation was very serious. The Korea Football Association announced on the 19th that “Kim Seung-gyu suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture in his right knee during training on the 18th. We have decided to cancel his call-up for the 2023 AFC Qatar Asian Cup. The player’s family is in Qatar, so the return date will be decided at a later date. The injury occurred last night during training for our own game. Later in the day, the MRI results came back and the decision was made to release him from the squad.”
Coach Klinsmann said, “It’s so, so heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking that Kim Seung-gyu had to drop out due to injury. Injuries are part of soccer and we have to accept them. I think the important thing is that we do our best to fulfill Kim’s role during the tournament. One game, one match is important. We have injuries, we have different things going on, but we have to look ahead. We have to respect every team and we will do our best to achieve our goal.”
In a last-minute move, goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo replaced Kim Seung-kyu in goal against Jordan. Although he conceded two goals, Cho Hyun-woo made a number of solid saves to save his team from the brink.
Kim Seung-gyu watched from the stands. Kim Seung-kyu was shown on the broadcast screen. He came to the stadium to support his team despite being seriously injured. Captain Son Heung-min stepped up to the plate, and after scoring the game’s first goal in the ninth minute, he pulled out Kim’s jersey to console him.
After being called up, Kim Seung-gyu decided to return to South Korea to undergo surgery. This leaves South Korea with only two goalkeepers. Cho Hyun-woo and Song Bum-geun, who started the last match against Jordan, remain. As a result, Klinsmann named Kim Jun-hong as his training partner.
Kim is one of the most highly touted goalkeepers in Korea. He made a name for himself at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023, serving as Kim Eun-jung-ho’s starting goalkeeper. Kim made an immediate impact in the first round of the tournament against France, pulling off a stunning save. South Korea finished the tournament in fourth place, earning rave reviews.
This performance caught the eye of Klinsmann. He was called up by Klinsmann last year to join the national team. Although he has yet to make his A-match debut, he has gained experience with the national team and will replace Kim Seung-gyu at the Asian Cup.
Meanwhile, Klinsmann’s men will face Malaysia in their third Group E match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar 2023 Asian Cup on June 25 at 8:30 p.m. (KST). The outcome of the match will determine first and second place in the group. If they finish first, they will face Japan in the round of 16, while if they finish second, they will likely face Saudi Arabia in the round of 16.