Unexpected thigh injury… a huge blow for Hwang Sun-Hong.
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Ahead of next month’s Hangzhou Asian Games, ‘Hwang Sun-hong Ho’ has encountered a major setback. Lee Kang-in (22-Paris Saint-Germain),안전놀이터 a key player for the U24 men’s soccer team, has suffered a thigh injury and is no longer guaranteed to play.

“Lee Kang-in has suffered a left quadriceps injury,” PSG announced on its website on Wednesday (Aug. 23), “and will dedicate himself to treatment at least until the end of the A-match break.” Ligue 1’s A-match break ends on the 15th of next month. That means Lee won’t be able to play for a while.

Lee started both Ligue 1 matches late last month after overcoming a right hamstring injury, but then suffered another setback. He has also shown great determination to compete in the Asian Games, where his military service benefits are at stake. Lee reportedly inserted an Asian Games release clause into his contract when he joined PSG.

Hwang Sun-hong, the head coach of the Asian Games team, has been preparing for the tournament with Lee’s participation in mind. The idea was to recall Lee as soon as possible to boost the team’s organization as it seeks to win its third consecutive men’s soccer title after Incheon 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang 2018.

However, Lee’s physical condition will be a factor. Hwang will face Kuwait in the first match of Group E at the Asian Games next month on March 19. Even if Lee Kang-in recovers from his injury, it is likely that he will not be able to play or train with the national team.

The A team also has an emergency. Head coach Jürgen Klinsmann had planned to call up Lee for the A matches against Wales and Saudi Arabia on March 8 and 13. With just two draws and two losses since his appointment, the team is in desperate need of a win. However, Lee, who will lead the attack alongside Tottenham Hotspur captain Son Heung-min, will not be available for the A matches.

Meanwhile, Colleen Bell’s women’s team is preparing for a World Cup break in Hangzhou. After suffering a heartbreaking group stage exit at the FIFA Women’s World Cup earlier this month, Bell’s side will head into the Asian Games with a renewed focus on the domestic front.

Aside from a few overseas players, Bell has called up a number of domestic players from the World Cup squad. Lee Min-ah (Hyundai Steel), Lee Eun-young (Korea University), Moon Eun-joo (Hwacheon KSPO), and Choi Ye-seul (Changnyeong WFC) are new additions to the squad after recovering from injuries. They are joined by the majority of players who played at the World Cup, including Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC), Chun Garam (Hwacheon), and Choi Yoo-ri (Hyundai Steel).

South Korean women’s soccer has won three consecutive bronze medals from Guangzhou 2010 to Jakarta-Palembang 2018. In Hangzhou, they will compete against Myanmar, the Philippines, and Hong Kong in Group E. The women’s team will begin training for the tournament at the National Training Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi-do, on March 5.

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