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Lee, Paik out of Korea Republic squad

Seoul: Korea Republic will be without Lee Kang-in and Paik Seung-ho for their challenge in AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.

The Korea Football Association announced on Monday that Valencia CF midfielder Lee (pictured above) and SV Darmstadt 98 midfielder Paik Seung-ho are not available for the tournament which also serves as the Qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Head coach Kim Hak-bum had announced his 22-man roster last Tuesday, leaving one spot open in hopes of filling it with either Lee or Paik.

According to the KFA, Valencia would have agreed to release Lee if not for his quad injury while Darmstadt wanted Paik to play in the group stage only, whereas Korea Republic wanted the 22-year-old for the entire competition.

German club SC Freiburg, however, have released midfielder Jeong Woo-yeong. The 20-year-old is the only Europe-based player on coach Kim's team.

Both Lee and Paik have played for the senior national team.

Lee had an outstanding FIFA U-20 World Cup in June, winning the Golden Ball as Korea Republic emerged runners-up.

The KFA said FC Seoul defender Yoon Jong-gyu is the 23rd player in the squad and he will train Korea Republic for their training camp in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Korea Republic will face defending champions Uzbekistan, China PR and Islamic Republic of Iran in Group C at Thailand 2020.

They will open their campaign against China on January 9, before facing Iran (January 12) and Uzbekistan (January 15).


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