South Korea national soccer team “captain” Son Heung-min (31, Tottenham) 안전놀이터 has put injury fears to rest. He participated in the team’s training session on Wednesday, a day before the match against Tunisia, to improve his chances of playing.
At the pre-match press conference against Tunisia at the Paju NFC (National Football Team Training Center) on the afternoon of the 12th, Son said, “I’m continuing to recover, so I think there will be more talk (about playing). I’m sure you’re worried, but I’ll be training today,” he said, adding, “I’m in a much better condition than when I arrived, and I’ll check my physical condition while training.”
In reality, Son Heung-min was light on his feet. As the players warmed up before the start of training, Heung-min showed off his signature dribbling with the ball, moving freely around the field and exchanging passes with his teammates and coach Chaduri. Afterward, he stretched, ran, and trained like any other player. It’s unknown if he’ll start, but he’ll be available to play against Tunisia.
The biggest question heading into the October A match was whether Son Heung-min would be available. Recently, local media reported that Son was playing with a groin injury. In reality, Son hasn’t played full-time since last month. He played 72 minutes against Burnley, where he scored a hat-trick, and was substituted after 75 minutes against Luton Town just before the A-Match.
South Korea national football team’s midfielder Son Heung-min stretches and warms up during an open training session at the Paju National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi-do, on Tuesday afternoon. 2023.10.10 [email protected]/2023-10-10 17:34:08/ JEJU ⓒ 1980-2023 Yonhap News Agency. All rights reserved.
There were many calls for Son Heung-min to be left out of the October A match, as he is not in the best shape and has been playing a tight schedule for years. Moreover, it was pointed out that the opponents were Tunisia and Vietnam, which are considered to be inferior opponents, so it was necessary to give Son Heung-min a rest.
In fact, after joining Paju NFC on the 9th, Son Heung-min was excluded from team training for three days and focused on his recovery by cycling. On the 11th, two days before the match against Tunisia, he also rode a bike and received a massage. His participation was uncertain, but his return to training on the 12th raised expectations.
South Korea national soccer team’s Son Heung-min trains with teammates at the National Training Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi-do, on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the team’s exhibition match against Tunisia on Thursday. After the match against Tunisia on Sept. 13, the national team, led by coach Klinsmann, will play an exhibition match against Vietnam on Sept. 17 at Suwon World Cup Stadium.
Klinsmann’s team, which earned its first win against Saudi Arabia last month, will play Tunisia at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Oct. 13 and Vietnam on Oct. 17. Captain Son Heung-min said, “I feel light-hearted after coming back to Korea with the first win I was expecting,” but also said, “I hope we can focus well on the two games and win back-to-back games with good performances. We need a lot of support from our fans. It’s been a long time since we’ve played in Korea, so we’ll do our best to put on a good show.”
Jürgen Klinsmann’s men will face lesser opponents in Tunisia and Vietnam, but they are determined to win in front of their home fans. “I hope we can start the World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Cup in a good mood,” said Son Heung-min.
South Korea will begin Asian qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North and Central America next month. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, which Klinsmann has been calling for since his arrival, is just three months away. With such a big milestone ahead, it’s important for the team to get results and keep the momentum going in the two matches at home this month.
Son Heung-min of the South Korean national soccer team answers questions from the media during an official press conference ahead of the team’s exhibition match against Tunisia on Wednesday at the National Training Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Wednesday afternoon. The national team, led by coach Klinsmann, will play Tunisia on Sept. 13 and then face Vietnam at Suwon World Cup Stadium on Sept. 17
South Korea national football team head coach Klinsmann answers questions from reporters during an official press conference ahead of the team’s exhibition match against Tunisia on Oct. 13 at the National Training Center (NFC) in Paju, Gyeonggi-do, on Wednesday afternoon. The national soccer team, led by coach Klinsmann, will play an exhibition match against Vietnam at Suwon World Cup Stadium on Nov. 17 after the Tunisia match on Nov. 13.
Klinsmann said, “These are the last two friendlies before the second round of World Cup qualifying begins. We want to finish with a good result in both matches, and we hope our fans will come and support us. We want to give them a good game.” “I want them (the players) to grow before the Asian Cup. The players and we (coaching staff) understand each other a lot. We want to get a good result and prepare well for the upcoming World Cup second qualifiers and the Asian Cup.”
South Korea hasn’t been able to call up its full squad for a number of reasons, including injuries. However, this time around, with the exception of Son Heung-min, the squad was in fine form. Most of the attention will be on the forward line, which includes Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton) and Cho Kyu-sung (Mitwillan). There are also high hopes for Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), who was the top scorer at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games with eight goals.