You Hyosik is Korea's most capped player with 256 caps, and has been a stalwart of the team since the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where his team finished eighth. In the opening game at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, You came close to being the hero of the match when his reverse stick shot beat the 'keeper but hit the post. Those few inches proved costly as New Zealand went on to sneak a win in the final minute of the game.
Since You made his international debut 10 years ago, Korea has maintained a steady position in the world's top eight teams. They are currently ranked seventh in the FIH world rankings and their tournament placings reflect the fact that Korea are a team that produces a consistent, if unremarkable, performance at major tournaments.
You and his squad qualified for this edition of the Hockey World Cup as the continental champions of Asia, a title they claimed following a victory over India in the final of the Asia Cup in Ipoh. The squad they have brought to The Hague is noted for the level of experience in the side. Besides You, there are five other players who have surpassed the 200 cap mark – Yoon Sung Hoon, Hong Eun Seong, Jang Jong Hyun, captain Lee Nam Yong and goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho. The 18 member team have a combined total of more than 2,600 international appearances, which is an average of over 145 caps per player.
Despite the set-back against the Black Sticks, the team remains positive. Their recent success at the Pahang Champions Challenge 1 event in Kuantan to secure their place in the 2016 edition of the elite Champions Trophy means Korea has secured its place among hockey's elite and the team are currently riding high on a wave of confidence.
Coached by the always-smiling Shin Seok Kyo, You and his colleagues remain a team that can produce results against any opposition. Phil Burrows, who scored the winning goal for the Black Sticks, said: "We were really lucky out there. The Koreans are fast and skilful and when they hit the post twice (a penalty stroke also hit the crossbar), we knew luck was on our side."
Shin Seok Kyo said: “The World Cup is the most important tournament this year. We want to reach a top five or top six finish in The Hague.” With a menacingly accurate penalty corner routine and a free-flowing and skilful style of hockey, despite the disappointing first result, Shin could get his wish.
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