South Korean men’s soccer has won three consecutive titles for the first time in Asian Games history.
Head coach Hwang Sun-hong’s men’s team conceded an early goal to Japan in the men’s football final at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, but overcame a late equalizer from Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart) and a late winner from Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon) to win 2-1 at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday.
This is South Korea’s third consecutive gold medal, dating back to Incheon 2014.
This is the first time in the history of the Asian Games that a team has won three consecutive men’s soccer titles.
Previously, Chinese Taipei (1954-1958), Myanmar (1966-1970), and Iran (1998-2002) won back-to-back titles.
It is the second time in soccer. China’s women’s soccer team topped the podium three times in a row at the 1990 Beijing Games, 1994 Hiroshima Games and 1998 Bangkok Games.
It is also the sixth Asian Games title for the men’s soccer team.
After winning their first title in Bangkok 1970, they went on to win gold in Bangkok 1978, Seoul 1986, Incheon, Jakarta-Palembang and Hangzhou.
At the tournament in Incheon, where the late Lee Kwang-jong was at the helm, South Korea was led by Lee Jae-sung (Mainz), Kim Seung-dae (Pohang), Jang Hyun-soo (Al-Hilal), Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk), Kim Shin-wook (Kitchee), Park Joo-ho (retired) and goalkeeper Kim Seung-kyu (Al-Shabab).
They were drawn in Group A with Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Laos and went through the group stage with a three-game sweep, defeating Hong Kong (3-0) in the round of 16, Japan (1-0) in the quarterfinals, and Thailand (2-0) in the semifinals.
In the North-South final, Korea won 1-0 thanks to a dramatic stoppage-time goal from Lim Chang-woo (Jeju).
South Korea scored a total of 13 goals in the tournament and were the only nation to keep a clean sheet.
Four years later, the Jakarta-Palembang tournament was led by Kim Hak-bum.
The team was highlighted by the arrival of Son Heung-min (Tottenham). Europeans Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), Hwang Eui-jo (Norwich City) and Hwang In-beom (Tsubena Zbezda) were the main players of the gold medal.
The gold medal cleared the way for them to go abroad as they were exempted from military service, and their steady growth has made them a valuable resource in Europe’s major leagues. Most of them are the core of the current A team.
The team finished second in Group E, but went on to defeat Iran (2-0) in the round of 16, Uzbekistan (4-3) in the quarterfinals, and Vietnam (3-1) in the semifinals.
In the semifinals against Vietnam, the tactical battle between Kim Hak-bum and Park Hang-seo, known as “Vietnam’s Hiddink,” was the center 안전놀이터 of attention.
In the final, they won a dramatic 2-1 victory over Japan in extra time. Lee Seung-woo (Suwon FC) and Hwang Hee-chan scored the goals.
Hwang finished the tournament as the top scorer with nine goals. Son Heung-min settled for one goal.
For the second consecutive tournament, South Korea defeated their final partner, Japan, to retain their Asian crown. At the 2026 Nagoya Games in three years’ time, Korea will attempt to become the first men’s and women’s soccer team to win four consecutive Asian Games titles.