After falling down, he got back up and played. Son Heung-min (31, Tottenham Hotspur) fought through the pain with the mentality of a captain.
Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korea national football team defeated Singapore 5-0 in the first match of the second Asian qualifying round for the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
With the win, South Korea topped Group C in the second round of qualifying and began their quest to qualify for their 11th consecutive World Cup in style. South Korea will now travel to Shenzhen, China, to face China in the second round on Nov. 21.
It was an easy win. South Korea, ranked 24th in the FIFA rankings, defeated Singapore, ranked 155th, by five goals in their first meeting in 33 years to remain unbeaten in 15 head-to-head matches (14 wins and one draw). Despite a goal disallowed due to a mistake and some bad luck with the goalposts, Cho Kyu-sung opened the scoring in the last minute of the first half and Hwang Hee-chan, Son Heung-min, Hwang Eui-jo and Lee Kang-in scored in the second half.
Captain Son Heung-min got on the scoresheet in the 17th minute of the second half when he picked up the ball in space on the right, beat his defender, and found the corner of the net with a stunning left-footed curler. It was a stunning goal from the so-called ‘Son Heung-min zone’. The goal gave him 39 goals in A matches, closing the gap on second-place Hwang Sun-hong (50).
There was also a heartbreaking moment. Son Heung-min, who had been heavily guarded by the opposing defense throughout the match, was brought down by a rough foul from Shahid Shahiran in the second half of a 4-0 win. He was kicked hard in the knee and lay on the pitch for a while in pain.
To make matters worse for the fans, Son was seen fiddling with his calf and showing signs of discomfort. He was even playing with a nagging injury at Tottenham. Heung-min is indispensable to both the national team and Tottenham, so it’s hard to give him a break.
Even the medical staff came in to check Son’s injury. Klinsmann protested loudly and unusually. Luckily, Son was back on his feet after a few minutes and was able to finish the game without any problems.
Klinsmann was still furious after the game, and when asked about Son Heung-min, he said, “I was angry that he fouled out at 4-0. It was an inappropriate and unnecessary foul. Should he have done that? I was very angry in the moment,” he said forcefully.
However, Klinsmann added: “But it’s also a positive thing. In soccer, there’s going to be contact. It means you can’t play at 100%. For example, if you get fouled, it can hurt for five minutes, and it’s your job to play through that pain. Lee Kang-in also limped today, but he played well in the second half. I could see how many players are committed to the team.”
It’s an upsetting moment for any player, injured or not, who feels the pain. It was even more frustrating because the foul came in the dying minutes of the match, when the game was practically decided.
When asked how he felt, Son brushed it off, saying, “I’m fine now. Actually, I don’t like to lie down for a long time on the field. I couldn’t feel my feet a little bit,” he smiled.
“I don’t think I’m the only one. All the players always play with small injuries. Everyone does. To be called up and play for the Korean national team is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid.”
Son Heung-min’s extraordinary mental strength and determination are evident in his words, which are typical of the Korean soccer ace and captain. “We have to make it as a team. I can’t give up the game just because I’m sick,” he said, adding, “If I can’t play, I can’t help it, but as long as I can play, I’ll do my best for the team.”
The next opponent is China. Although China is not as good as Korea, they are playing away from home, so they can’t let their guard down. Above all, they need to be careful not to get injured by China’s rough play. 아톰카지노 주소
“I think every moment of soccer is going to be rough,” said Son Heung-min. In fact, we’re going to play against a strong team, and we’re going to say, ‘Let’s play rough.’ When they play us in Asia, it can be a tactic to try to make us angry and frustrated. It’s a play we can do. If we don’t get involved too much and play our game, we can do it. We don’t have to be afraid of China,” he said, expressing his confidence.
Meanwhile, Kim Min-jae and Cho Kyu-sung also vowed to fight back without being intimidated. Kim Min-jae said, “If we go to China, I think we will be beaten if we don’t play the same way. I think we’ll be fine if we play tough from the defense,” while Cho Kyu-sung said, “I think it will be a tough game because the Chinese team itself is tough. We’ll play harder and get a big win like today.”