South Korea, led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, came from behind to beat Australia 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2 at Al-Zanub Stadium in Al-Wakra, Qatar. South Korea, which won dramatically again, will meet Jordan in the semifinals after defeating Tajikistan.
South Korea, which was dragged 0-1 by Craig Goodwin after Hwang In-beom’s mistake, made a change in the second half when it did not score a goal and did not score a goal properly. I excluded Cho Kyu-sung and put in Lee Jae-sung, but Hwang Hee-chan went to the front line. They also put in Hong Hyun-seok instead of Hwang In-beom to put power in the midfield. Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in, Lee Jae-sung and Hong Hyun-seok moved freely and tried to penetrate the Australian defense.
Yang Hyun-joon was deployed at the 40th minute of the second half, but Kim Tae-hwan was excluded. Yang is a striker who is far from a fullback as a winger. It is right to put a fullback instead of Kim Tae-hwan, but neither Kim Jin-soo nor Lee Ki-je were in normal physical condition and were unable to move Seol Young-woo to the right, and eventually put in a gambler. Instead, Park Yong-woo completely went down between the center backs to form a three-hundred form.
Despite the sudden deployment of wingback, Yang has displayed good performance. Yang Hyun-joon, who won the K League 1 Young Player Award at Gangwon FC and was dubbed the future of Korean soccer, is currently a member of Celtic, a prestigious Scottish club. Having failed to play in the second term due to too many good players, Yang played in his first career Asian Cup as a wingback.
Yang Hyun-joon shook the right side with his signature sharpness. He boldly broke through and pushed ahead, and Lee Jae-sung and Lee Kang-in supported. Korea, which mainly attacked on the left side, also activated the right side attack after Yang Hyun-joon was deployed. In the end, Korea won a penalty kick and Hwang Hee-chan succeeded to tie the game 1-1. In extra time, Son Heung-min’s free-kick goal came from behind to win 2-1.
In a mixed zone interview, Yang Hyun-jun said, “I feel very good to win. I went in when I was pushed back. As a result, I feel very good to turn the tables. I was very nervous. Coach (J)Duri and the manager told me to always be ready to help the team. I feel good because I’m always preparing for it. He said, ‘Don’t think in a hurry, I’m always preparing because I don’t know when the opportunity will come.’ I’m glad that I got that opportunity today,” he said.
When asked about his background as a wingback, he said, “I talked to Coach Cha Du-ri, and I was surprised to hear that he was going to join as a wingback all of a sudden. As I changed to three back, my wingback went up a little high. He gave me the role of one-on-one. Coach Cha Du-ri told me to dribble confidently, which is my strength, because it’s okay if I lose the game. Even though it was my first time as a wingback, he said he did a good job. I saw the wingback once in practice. I worked hard at that time, and the coach liked it, so I was able to play the game.”
Regarding the atmosphere of the team, he said, “I feel that we are united as a team. I have a big age gap with my older brothers, but I am getting close. I think I am the best as a team.” Yang Hyun-joon, who left an impression, is more likely to receive opportunities in future matches as well. He has another option.