Mon, 30 Nov, -0001
Seoul: AFC Player of the Year 2012 Lee Keun-ho notched his 63rd international cap as he received the coveted call-up to Korea Republic’s final squad in June’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Lee played in most of the 2010 World Cup qualifications and led Korea’s offence during the Asian qualifying rounds and was seen as a valuable asset for the Taegeuk Warriors.
The then-25year-old even attended training camp in Austria but soon flew back home after then coach Huh Jung-moo excluded him from the final squad.
However, the coveted call-up finally came when current Korea boss Hong Myung-bo announced the 23-man final roster for the 2014 World Cup at the Paju National Football Training Center.
“I’m 29 now and I think this could be my last chance to play in the World Cup,” Korean JoongAng Daily quotes Lee as saying.
“As many people know, I always dreamed of representing my country in the world’s biggest football event and I was so close to accomplishing that dream four years ago, which wasn’t eventually realised, though I think that history has made me more desperate (to play in Brazil).”
Lee, who currently plies his trade for military outfit Sangju Sangmu Phoenix on a loan deal, recently recovered from a right knee injury which he picked up in a friendly match against Greece in March.
“I’m pretty sure that the injury will not be a problem,” he said. “I have been doing my best to be a part of the upcoming World Cup, and I think I’m ready to play for my country.”
The final squad:
Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon Bluewings), Lee Bum-young (Busan IPark), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Hyundai)
Defenders: Hwang Seo-kho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hong Jeong-ho (Augusburg), Lee Yong (Ulsan Hyundai), Yun Suk-young (QPR), Kim Chang-soo (Kashiwa Reysol), Kim Jin-soo (Albirex Niigata), Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal)
Midfielders: Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol), Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan), Ji Dong-won (Augusburg), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton), Son Heung-min (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Park Jong-woo (Guangzhou R&F), Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff City), Ki Sung-yueng (Sunderland)
Forward: Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-Young (Watford FC), Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan Hyundai)
Striker: Koo Ja-cheol (FSV Mainz 05)