After a poor showing in the group stage, will Cho Kyu-sung (26, Mitwillan) start in the round of 16 and can he get back to form?
South Korea will face Saudi Arabia in the round of 16 of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2023 Qatar Asian Cup on July 31 at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar.
Previously, South Korea struggled in their three group games with one win and two draws. This left them in second place in the group with five points.
The matchup between South Korea and Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest matches of the round of 16. Both teams are considered Asian soccer powerhouses.
South Korea also reached the round of 16 at the last World Cup in Qatar 2022, while Saudi Arabia defeated eventual champions Argentina.
Before the match. One of the big questions for South Korea is whether Cho Kyu-sung will start, as he hasn’t had much of an impact in the group stage.
He started all three group games but failed to score a goal and missed a number of crucial scoring chances, which was a huge disappointment.
South Korea has Oh Hyun-gyu on the bench and Hwang Hee-chan is back from injury. So even if Cho Kyu-sung doesn’t start, South Korea’s attack is strong.
However, Jürgen Klinsmann doesn’t often make changes to his best 11. Therefore, it is not unlikely that Cho will start in the round of 16.
Cho Kyu-sung has fond memories of the Education City Stadium, the venue for the round of 16. He scored a headed multi-goaler against Ghana at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
It was also against Saudi Arabia that he led Klinsmann to his first victory, so there are some expectations for him.
It will be interesting to see if he can bounce back at a stadium that holds fond memories for him after his worst performance in the group stages, where he was subjected to personal attacks.