German-based defender Park Joo-ho was called into the South Korea World Cup squad yesterday after first-choice leftback Kim Jin-su was forced to drop out of the 23 because of an ongoing ankle problem.
Kim, 21, had not made enough progress in his recovery, the Korean Football Association (KFA) said in a brief statement, leaving FSV Mainz 05 defender Park to battle Yun Suk-young of Queens Park Rangers for a starting place in Brazil.
Kim, who had become a regular under head coach Hong Myung-bo, had been pulled out of training last week after complaining of pain in his right ankle.
KFA officials said at the time it was only as a precaution and that they did not think the unspecified problem was serious.
South Korea are also waiting on news of central defender Hong Jeong-ho, who was having an ankle problem assessed at hospital yesterday after being forced off in the 13th minute of Wednesday’s disappointing 1-0 home loss to Tunisia.
South Korea will be hoping Hong can recover with a fragile defense being badly exposed by the Africans in the World Cup warmup in Seoul.
Forward Zouheir Dhaouadi was given far too much freedom as he burst through the heart of the hosts’ defense from deep to score the only goal shortly before halftime to upset the hosts’ World Cup party.
Yun started the match at leftback, but Park will be hopeful of usurping him for the Group H matches against Russia, Algeria and Belgium in Brazil next month.
The Mainz defender had a strong first season in the German Bundesliga after switching from Swiss side Basel and his initial snub from the World Cup squad was one of the main talking points among South Korea fans and the media.
However, the 27-year-old had been suffering a foot inflammation since the conclusion of the Bundesliga season earlier this month.
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