Goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo Set to Return to Form for National Team

中央日報
Jo Hyeon-woo trains at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday. /Newsis

Goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo of FC Daegu is returning to the national squad after a short break due to an injury. He is expected to play in a friendly against Uruguay in Seoul on Friday.

He has had the best time of his career this year. It started with the FIFA World Cup in Russia in June. Jo, who had seldom appeared in international matches until then, was picked as the starting goalkeeper for Korea's first match in the group stage against Sweden and showed a surprisingly impressive performance, only allowing a goal. Then he went on to play a key role in Korea's defeating world No. 1 Germany in the third match.

That enabled him to be chosen as a wildcard entry for the Asian Games in Indonesia in August, where Korea won a gold medal, allowing him to be exempt from mandatory military service.

But he had to take some time off as he sustained a knee injury during the Asian Games, and is now ready to return to the field. If he appears in the match against Uruguay, it will be his debut under new manager Paulo Bento.

He joined the national team for training in the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Monday and told reporters, "I'm very well prepared. I will show a good performance to satisfy manager Bento as well as fans."

This may be a good opportunity to test Jo's dream of playing in a European league. Uruguay is one of the world's best teams -- ranked fifth in the world, compared to Korea's 55th. Although Luis Suarez of Spanish club Barcelona will miss the match due to the birth of his child, another top class forward, Edinson Cavani, who holds the Paris Saint-Germain club record of 176 goals, will start. 

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