For South Korea men’s national soccer team striker Cho Kyu-sung (26-Mitwillan), Doha, Qatar, is the land of opportunity. After being pushed out of the starting lineup at the start of the World Cup in Qatar in November 2022, Cho came on in the second game against Ghana (2-3 loss) to head home crosses from Lee Kang-in and Kim Jin-soo, proving his star quality. It was the first multi-goal game in a single World Cup in Korean soccer history. It was the game that made his name known around the world.
Cho vowed to keep the good memories alive in Qatar. “I think I just need to do well,” he smiled after the first group game against Bahrain at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 텍사스홀덤 Asian Cup 2023.
He met with the media before training at the Al Eglah Training Center in Doha, Qatar on the 18th and was asked if he was trying to relive his good memories of Qatar. He replied, “I have good memories every time I come to Qatar. Even when I was with Jeonbuk Hyundai, I scored in an Asian Champions League match. I think if I approach the game with a positive mindset rather than trying to relive the memories, good things will happen.”
Cho Kyu-sung followed up his World Cup performance with a move to Midtjylland (Denmark) to play in Europe. In his first season with Mittwilan, he scored eight goals and two assists in 16 games and was named in the best 11 of the Danish league for the first half of the season.
However, in the first match of the Asian Cup, against Bahrain, he put his head down after failing to convert several crucial chances into goals. Three goals were scored, but all of them came from the midfield. “I think it was difficult because I didn’t capitalize on the chances I had,” Cho said. Now that it’s the first game, I think I’ve warmed up, and I’ll prepare well for the next game,” he said.
Cho Kyu-sung’s role became even more important after frontline player Hwang Eui-jo was suspended from the national team for illegal filming ahead of the Asian Cup. Instead of looking for another frontline option, Jürgen Klinsmann opted to go into the tournament with just Cho and Oh Hyun-gyu (Celtic). Klinsmann, a former world-class striker himself, trusts Cho Kyu-sung by consistently giving him a chance to start.
“The coach always tells me to get into the box a lot,” Cho said. “In the first game, I tried to go down and do that, but I think if I think about what he told me and try to capitalize on my chances, good things will happen.”
He also has a lot of faith in Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), who can create scoring opportunities for himself with his sharp crosses. “He does a great job, so I’m thinking that if I focus on myself, I’ll get a goal,” Cho said.
He also expressed confidence in his second-round opponent, Jordan, on Tuesday: “I think Jordan is strong in the offense. But we have (Kim) Min-jae (Bayern Munich), so I’m not worried about our defense. I think we can win,” he said.