South Korean footballer Son Heung-min showed up at a training center for national football teams in Maria Enzersdorf, Austria on Wednesday (Seoul time), wearing a neck warmer whose top opening was tightened on his head. Son featuring a unique style that makes him look like wearing a large thimble on his head made everybody feel at ease by sprawling out on the ground with a huge smile after winning a shooting bet. However, he was serious when he was talking about his resolution as the caption of Team Korea to his teammates. “We are re-matched with the teams that brought pain upon us. I want to defeat both of them,” he said.
Team Korea, which has finally been “completed” by convening those playing in Europe, including Son, for the first time in one year, is going to play against Mexico at 5 a.m. on Sunday and Qatar at 10 p.m. on Tuesday in Austria. Mexico defeated South Korea 2-1 in the second round of the 2018 Russia World Cup group competitions. In the match attended by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Son scored a 22-meter goal but shed tears as he could not stop Team Korea’s two consecutive losses. Qatar won against South Korea 1-0 in the quarterfinal of the AFC Asian Cup last year. Son played full-time but did not score.
Son who has become much better at cooperating plays as seen in his record of five assists this season says he will help the revival of fellow strikers of Team Korea. Forward striker Hwang Ui-jo has not scored any this season while Hwang Hee-chan scored only one goal. “It is also my role to help Hwang Ui-jo and Hwang Hee-chan who are going through rough times now improve their performance before returning to their teams,” Son said.
Some are concerned about Son’s stamina for joining Team Korea while dealing with the tight schedule of his team. “I am the happiest when I play football,” he said regarding the concern. “Of course, frequent matches and long travel time can be exhausting sometimes but I don’t want to show it to my teammates or fans.”
Yun-Cheol Jeong email@example.com