Son Heung-min talks about the game, his fitness, and his criticism of head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
The South Korean national soccer team, led by Klinsmann, defeated Vietnam (ranked 95th in the FIFA rankings) 6-0 on Sunday at 8 p.m. at the Suwon World Cup Stadium. With the win, South Korea concluded its October A schedule with two straight victories.
South Korea started with Cho Hyun-woo, Lee Ki-je, Kim Min-jae, Jung Seung-hyun, Seol Young-woo, Hwang Hee-chan, Park Yong-woo, Lee Jae-sung, Lee Kang-in, Son Heung-min, and Cho Kyu-sung. Kim Seung-kyu, Kim Jin-soo, Hwang In-beom, Hong Hyun-seok, Kim Jun-hong, Lee Soon-min, Moon Sun-min, Hwang Eui-jo, Jung Woo-young, Kim Young-kwon, Kim Joo-seong, Kim Tae-hwan, and Oh Hyun-gyu were on the bench.
Son Heung-min got the start. After playing a key role in Tottenham Hotspur’s run to the top of the Premier League (PL) early in the season, Son scored six goals in the league alone. He was recognized for his performance by being named PL Player of the Month for September. It was a tremendous performance that was lauded by all, but the high workload and constant playing time took a toll on his body and he came to South Korea complaining of groin discomfort.
He even missed the match against Tunisia. He reportedly only did simple running and cycling after joining the national team. After the Tunisia game, he trained normally, but it was widely expected that he would start from the bench and come on as a late substitute. With Hwang Hee-chan, Chung Woo-young, and Moon Sun-min available to replace Son, there was no reason to overdo it.
Klinsmann chose to start Son Heung-min. He formed a duo with Cho Kyu-sung in a 4-1-3-2 formation. Cho Kyu-sung moved more. He dropped down to the midfield or linked up with his teammates to create passing routes and make connections. Son Heung-min also made more and more moves, focusing on linking up and penetrating. In the 17th minute, Lee Kang-in’s pass found Son Heung-min, who had a one-on-one opportunity, but his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. In the 19th minute, his right-footed shot was also off target. 안전놀이터
After goals from Kim Min-jae and Hwang Hee-chan, Son Heung-min missed another chance. In the 31st minute, Son took a powerful shot from the center of the field that was blocked by the defense. After that, he didn’t link up well with his teammates and failed to capitalize on the attacking opportunities. The team looked lively, but the finishing touches weren’t there yet.