National team defender Park Ji-soo (29-Portimonense) fills a void in Klinsmann’s central defense.

Jürgen Klinsmann’s (GER) men’s national team will face Peru in an A-match assessment on Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. at the Busan Asiad Stadium. On the 20th, the team will travel to Daejeon to face El Salvador.

The team’s first training session at Busan’s Gudeok Sports Complex on Dec. 12 was a welcome sight. This is Park Ji-soo, who entered the Portuguese league in January.

For Park, last winter was harsh. He was looking forward to his first World Cup through the 2022 Qatar World Cup, but injuries held him back. A day before the final roster was to be announced, Park injured his ankle in an exhibition match against Iceland on November 11 last year.

He had been consistently called up by Paulo Bento (Portugal) and was expected to be selected.

At the time, Park said on his social networking service (SNS), “I have shed countless sweat drops in the past four years to reach the highest stage that every player dreams of, so the sudden injury is very unfortunate,” leaving many people sad.

The rest is history.

After recovering from his injury, he joined 안전놀이터 Portimonense in the Portuguese first division in January of this year and made his way to Europe. He had the help of former coach Bento, who was unfortunately not with him.

It is said that he recommended Park Ji-soo because he was familiar with his strengths and the characteristics of his country’s league and saw high potential for adaptation and future development.

A steady defender, he appeared in all 14 games from his debut and helped the club stay in the top flight. Off the field, the couple celebrated by getting married in December last year.

It was a bittersweet departure for the national team, but this time was different.

The presence of Park Ji-soo, who has made 14 appearances in A matches, will be evident. The core of the central defense, Italian Serie A’s best defender Kim Min-jae (Napoli), is on basic military training and Kim Young-kwon (Ulsan) is out due to injury.

Park Ji-soo will have to minimize the gap on the right side of the central defense.

In his debut as South Korea coach, Klinsmann named a squad that featured the main players from the World Cup Round of 16 in the two A matches in March.

This time around, he looked both overseas and in the K League to identify players who could fit his colors. It was called the “first real Klinsmann.

It will be interesting to see how Park Ji-soo will perform in seven months’ time, having made it to the European stage and established himself as a mainstay in about half a year after his World Cup failure.

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