Midfielder Baek Seung-ho (26, North Korea), a member of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games men’s soccer team, has experienced the “sweet and bitter” of life in a short period of time at the Games. Selected as one of three “wildcard” spots in the U-24 squad for the tournament, Baek was also named captain and served as a focal point for the team on and off the field. While he and his teammates enjoyed a winning start to the tournament with a string of early group wins and overcame a number of tough opponents, he was also the subject of some criticism after a number of mistakes were highlighted.
After conceding a free kick in the semifinals against Uzbekistan (4-2-1), he was criticized and said, “I said I was doing my best, but it was a foul, and I couldn’t avoid the shot, but it went in.” “I don’t know how to satisfy you. I want you to believe and support me,” he said. Baek Seung-ho, who still wore the captain’s armband and stayed in the middle of the team in the fateful final against Japan at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China, on Sunday, had a smile on his face as his team won its third consecutive gold medal with a 2-1 victory. Baek Seung-ho showed tears of mixed emotions as his journey ended with his goal.
“I’m grateful to coach Hwang Sun-hong and the coaching staff for believing in me, and I’m grateful to my teammates for believing in each other and working together to reach the goal,” he told reporters after winning the gold medal. “I was eager and wanted to win, so I worked hard to prepare, and I’m happy to have achieved the result. It’s hard to single out anyone, so everyone worked hard,” he said, adding that the tournament meant that he “learned a lot and grew as a person.”
“When the coach trusted me to be the captain, I was excited and had fun rather than worried, but as the games went on, the pressure and responsibility 스포츠토토존 grew. Thankfully, the coach, coaching staff, and teammates believed in me,” he said .As they celebrated their victory, Hwang and Baek Seung-ho hugged to soothe each other’s troubles and share their joy. Baek Seung-ho said, “Coach Hwang also had a lot to worry about before and during the tournament, and he suffered a lot. He had a lot of good things to say to me, so we talked to each other,” he said, adding, “I was crying the whole time.”
“I made him captain because I believed in him 100 percent, and when (criticism) came, I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it, just do your job,'” Hwang said. Hwang, who was a consistent striker for the national team during his playing days, but was also criticized more than anyone else due to the high expectations, said, “I’ve been there, and I want the juniors to rise above all that. I want to tell them that they just need to keep quiet and do their job.”
Baek Seung-ho, who has played on the European stage in Germany and elsewhere, will receive military service benefits for his gold medal win, allowing him to focus more on his team and paving the way for him to take on bigger challenges in the future. “A lot of things happened in this tournament, and it was a good experience for me to get the result,” Baek Seung-ho said, smiling, “I think it will be a ‘turning point’.”