SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Kwon Chang-hoon has been cut from South Korea’s World Cup squad after picking up an injury playing for his French club on the weekend.
It is a serious setback for South Korea and its chances of negotiating Group F games against Sweden, Mexico and Germany.
The 23-year-old midfielder reportedly ruptured an Achilles tendon playing for Dijon on Saturday in the last match of the French Ligue 1 season. Kwon had performed well in France, scoring 11 goals for Dijon.
The Korean Football Association confirmed on Monday that Kwon had been cut from the squad. According to South Korean media reports, coach Shin Tae-yong will not call for a replacement, with Lee Chung-yong of Crystal Palace and Incheon United’s Moon Seon-min capable of filling the right midfield position.
Kwon is the latest injury worry for the coach. Defender Kim Min-jae and midfielder Yeom Ki-hun had earlier been left out of the initial 28-man squad announced last week. Fullback Kim Jin-su is being monitored ahead of the June 4 deadline when the final 23-player squads must be confirmed.
Captain Ki Sung-yeung told fans at a news conference in Seoul on Monday that the team is ready to challenge in Russia despite the setbacks.
“I know we have some injured players, but I have high expectations,” Ki said. “Our country has shown its power even when it has been in a difficult situation. I’m ready to lead the players as the captain.”
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