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Not the same as a year ago, Hwang Hong-ho, Nio Iwaho lose 0-3 in

Asian Games Final to be played against Japan on July 7 at 9 p.m.
June '22 AFC U-23 Asian Cup quarterfinal humiliation

Hwang Sun-hong's men will take on arch-rivals Japan in the final of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games. It will be interesting to see if they can avenge last year's 0-3 loss to Japan.

Hwang Sun-hong's men's football team defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 on Thursday at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China, behind a multi-goal performance from Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart) in the men's football semifinal.

They will face archrivals Japan in the final. South Korea will play Japan in the final at 9 p.m. on July 7 at the same stadium. Japan advanced to the final with a 4-0 win over Hong Kong in the previous quarterfinal.

This will be the second consecutive time South Korea will play Japan in the final, following the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang tournament. In 2018, South Korea won the gold medal with a 2-1 victory over Japan thanks to back-to-back goals from Lee Seung-woo and Hwang Hee-chan in extra time.

If South Korea defeats Japan again, they will win their third consecutive title after winning in Incheon in 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang in 2018. It would also cement South Korea as the tournament's most decorated nation with six titles (1970, 1978, 1986, 2014, 2018, 2023). In second place is Iran, which has won four times. Japan has only won once, in 2010.

It will be interesting to see if Hwang Sun-hong can avenge last year's defeat.

Hwang Sun-hong lost 0-3 to Ko Oiwa's Japan in the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan on June 12 last year. At the time, South Korea conceded a goal in the 21st minute to Yuito Suzuki. Mao Hosoya scored in the 20th minute and Yuto Suzuki scored again in the 35th minute.

It was the first time in 23 years that South Korea had lost to Japan by three goals in an Under-23 match since a September 1999 trial in Tokyo, Japan (1-4).

To make matters worse, the Japanese squad was U-21 instead of U-23. At the time, multi-goal scorer Yuito Suzuki was the same age as Lee Kang-in.

Coach Hwang Sun-hong vowed to make amends after the defeat, saying, "I will show a different face from now on. We lack young players, but I want you to support us and criticize me, the coach," he said, adding, "I will do my best to build a strong team so that we don't have to go through this again."

More than a year later, the Japanese team at the Asian Games is also led by Oiwa Ko. Despite the change in personnel, the Japanese team showed off their organizational skills to reach the final.

Hwang Sun-hong is also different from a year ago. The squad has been drastically reorganized. With the exception of Lee Kang-in, Cho Young-wook, Hong Hyun-seok, Ko Young-joon, and Choi Jun, the entire squad is new.

It will be interesting to see if Hwang can avenge his humiliating defeat a year ago by defeating Japan in the Asian Games final.
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Friday, October 6, 2023

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