“(He) Kang-in, (Son) Heung-min calmed me down, saying my legs were shaking while I was warming up. I was so nervous that I couldn’t show my dribbling and crossing skills. I will regain my stability and advance to the World Cup finals, which is my dream stage.”

Hwang Jae-won (22) of Daegu FC, who was selected for the Korean men’s national soccer team for the first time in his career, expressed regret and expectation at the same time. In a telephone interview with the Seoul Shimbun on Wednesday, he said, “All the players are the ace players of each team, so I was determined not to cause any damage. It was fun just to kick the ball with great players. I was excited even before I went on the field.”

Hwang Jae-won quickly adapted to the national team by forming the youngest line with Bae Joon-ho (21, Stoke City), and played in both the second qualifying matches for the 2026 North and Central America World Cup in Asia. He started the away match against Singapore (7-0 win) on the 6th and played again with Lee Kang-in (23, Paris Saint-Germain), who collaborated to win the gold medal at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.

“I felt confident. I believed he would solve the problem as long as I delivered the ball to him because he was so good at dribbling,” he said of striker Lee Kang-in. “In Hangzhou last year, I played with players (under 24) in a relaxed mood. The sense of duty and responsibility that I felt in the senior national team was much heavier than then,” he said.

There are also tasks to supplement. “Coach Kim Do-hoon instructed Kangin, who is widely spread and attacking, to penetrate into the center of the opponent team,” Hwang Jae-won said. “Unlike my expectations, I couldn’t create an opportunity,” adding, “I felt a lot of pressure to strengthen my defense as it was my debut match. I’m sorry that I couldn’t contribute to the offense.”

Although he did not make the starting list at the home game against China (1-0 win) on the 11th, he experienced a new world where he watched Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)’s dribble from the nearest spot. “I kept admiring him on the bench with Jun-ho. I had no choice but to watch him closely,” Hwang Jae-won, who recalled the time, said, “I didn’t know Heung-min’s batting and running was that fast when I watched the video.”

Hwang Jae-won, who was substituted and played for about 30 minutes, gained motivation and confidence. “I was asked by the coach to revitalize my team. I think I performed my duties more stably than the first game,” he said. “I filled my energy by watching 60,000 fans wearing red clothes and cheering for me.” 메이저사이트

In the third qualifying round for the World Cup in September, he will have to compete with Seol Young-woo (Ulsan HD), who will return from his shoulder injury. If called again, he will have to keep pace with “iron pillar” Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) for the first time. “I imagine what it would be like to play with Kim Min-jae, who represents Korea. However, first of all, I need to show my strengths, including solid defense and crosses through dribbles,” Hwang said. “Unlike my team, the national team is using four-back, so we have to adapt to changes in the typical style. I will not miss the opportunity to advance to the World Cup by making up for my shortcomings.”

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