Goal-less to national team member Cho Hyun-woo “Singapore-China 2-game series, we will stop them like ‘light’ and win everything”

Cho Hyun-woo (32, Ulsan HD) was recalled to the national team after keeping a clean sheet in the Hyundai Gathering derby. He has vowed to continue his animalistic defense for the national team despite the dizziness of two consecutive interim coaches in their quest for World Cup qualification.

The intense K League schedule takes a pause. The season is over, and the K-Leaguers and J-Leaguers have been called up to the national team for the second round of Asian qualifying for the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026. South Korea will face Singapore and 홀덤 China in the first two matches of Group C.

While they’re likely to advance to the third round, their roster is a mess. After the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, they sacked head coach Jürgen Klinsmann and didn’t appoint a permanent head coach until the June A-Match. Hwang Sun-hong and Kim Do-hoon are the second interim coaches in a row.

They need a win to clear the air. When we met in Ulsan ahead of his call-up to the national team, Cho Hyun-woo said: “It’s a tough league schedule, but it’s a blessing to represent my country. It’s a time I’ll never get back, so I’m grateful and cherish every moment. I will do my best to make the national team and play well.”

He also has a connection with interim coach Kim Do-hoon, who previously coached Ulsan. They worked together on the national team, albeit briefly. “He’s a coach I know very well,” says Cho Hyun-woo with a big smile, “and he prefers to play attacking soccer. I’m excited to meet him in the national team. I think he’s a good fit for our national team.”

It’s early summer in June in South Korea, but it’s still chilly compared to the weather in Singapore. With the first game being away from home, the environment will be a factor. However, he added, “Korea is also hot, so it shouldn’t be a problem to adapt. We have a lot of good players. We will overcome all the external factors with our skills. We want to repay our fans by winning the two games against China.”

Just before the squad was called up, Jeonbuk won 1-0 in the 16th round of the Hana Bank K League 1 2024. Desperate to bounce back, Jeonbuk pushed Ulsan hard under Kim Doo-hyun. However, they were unable to break through the last line of defense of Cho Hyun-woo, and Ulsan held on for their first clean sheet in six games in the rivalry.

“I think the defense did a better job than I did, throwing their bodies all the way and making tackles,” said Cho Hyun-woo, adding, “I’m trying to be a more reliable goalkeeper every moment.” She credits her teammates for the clean sheet victory rather than herself.

He also thanked the 29,000 home fans who gathered at Ulsan Munsu Stadium to cheer him on. “I was really excited from the warm-up,” said Cho Hyun-woo. When I scored the theater goal, it gave me goosebumps to see all the fans standing up and cheering. I hope we can continue to create this kind of culture and atmosphere. There are times when we concede goals unavoidably, but we will try our best to overcome them and stop them very quickly like ‘Light’.”

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