Son Heung-min said, “It’s an excuse to play for the country and it’s hard.”

February 3, 2024 | by

Captain Son Heung-min (Tottenham) succeeded in revenge against Australia.

South Korea, led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, won 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup against Australia at Al-Zanub Stadium in Alwakra, Qatar, at 0:30 a.m. on the 3rd (Korea time).

With this achievement, Korea will continue its challenge to win the Asian Cup title in 64 years since the 1960 Asian Cup championship title. In the semifinals, Korea will meet Jordan, who was once in the group league. At the time, the two teams tied 2-2. Jordan defeated Tajikistan in the quarterfinals.

It was a significant match for Son. Son, who was on the starting list for the match against Australia, set a new Asian Cup record for most Asian Cup appearances as a Korean player. Having played in the match against Saudi Arabia in the round of 16, Son has played in 16 matches as legendary former Vice President Lee Young-pyo of the Korea Football Association. He has participated in tournaments since the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar. He has also played against Australia in this year’s event, and thus set a milestone of 17 matches.

The match against Australia was also a revenge match between Korea and Son. Korea advanced to the final at the 2015 Australia Championship, but was defeated by Australia and only the runner-up. At that time, Son played in the final match against Australia. He scored a dramatic equalizer in extra time in the second half when the team was losing 0-1. However, Korea lost when it allowed the winning goal in overtime. Son bowed his head. Kim Young-kwon and Kim Jin-soo, who played in the final match together with Son, also vowed revenge.

Korea scored the first goal in the 42nd minute of the first half. Later, Korea tried to score an equalizer, but it hardly came to fruition. Korea failed to score an equalizer until 45 minutes passed in the second half. However, a miracle happened. The hero was Son Heung-min. He dribbled aggressively in the 51st minute of the second half to score a penalty kick. Then, Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton) who played as a kicker calmly finished the game and scored a dramatic equalizer. The score became 1-1. The game ended in overtime.

Hwang Hee-chan’s volley shot and Lee Kang-in’s header shot of Paris Saint-Germain were blocked by the goalkeeper’s save in the early days of extra time. However, Son Heung-min has stepped up as a troubleshooter again. He scored a come-from-behind goal from a free kick chance he got near the penalty box in the 14th minute of extra time. Son jumped up and performed a joyful ceremony. Eventually, Korea won a miraculous 2-1 come-from-behind victory and advanced to the semifinals.

Korea also had a penalty shootout against Saudi Arabia in the last 16 after 120 minutes of bloody struggle. It produced a drama for two consecutive games.

After the match, Son said in an interview with a news conference, “I don’t think there has been any such thing as two consecutive overtime plays as a soccer player. Rather than being much harder than I thought, you have to overcome it with your mental strength. This is the beauty of a tournament. “It’s an excuse to be tired because you are playing for your country,” Son said. “There are only four teams left in the tournament to fight for a single championship. I don’t need any excuses or pain. I will only play with one goal.”

■ The following is Son Heung-min’s question and answer.

  • How do you feel about the game.
    ▶ It was such a difficult game. I’m not 100% satisfied with the performance of the game, but it’s important that it resulted in the game. Both teams played so good soccer. As a team, I’m glad I had a good result. I made it to the semi-finals. It’s not the goal I want, but I’m glad I achieved it. I’ll do well in the next game to achieve my final goal.
  • Regarding the penalty kick situation at the end of the second half. Did they decide on the kicker after discussing it? Or did Hwang Hee-chan decide to kick it in advance.
    ▶ It remains the same that I am the first kicker of the penalty kick, but it was physically difficult for me, and Hwang Hee-chan said he wanted to wear it with confidence. Hwang Hee-chan also wanted to show that he is now playing a very important role in the team. Hwang Hee-chan has improved and scored a goal, which has helped the team. It was more important than who kicked the goal. I am grateful that Hwang Hee-chan scored a goal and helped the team.
  • Which position is more convenient to play in, side or center? I don’t have many goals, but I think my performance is good when I play from the side.
    ▶ As you saw me get a penalty kick, I didn’t play from the side, but I got it by pushing from the middle. The position I’m good at is also important, but I think it’s a position where I can do everything well. You can find a good position by taking the position that suits you best wherever you put up. It’s fortunate that there are capable players around. 헤라카지노도메인
  • “Zombie soccer” was coined after winning the game with difficulty. Did he also contact Tottenham manager.
    ▶ Winning is important no matter what football you play. I think it’s the team’s ability. But I think it was an opportunity for the team to strengthen its spirit through such a game. It becomes stronger with this belief. If you go to the extension, you will be tired, but the players did well without giving up. The biggest advantage is that we unite as one. I also keep texting with Tottenham manager Angel Postecoglou. When playing Tottenham, they text me, saying, “Good luck.” Postecoglou also sends me a text every Asian Cup game. We are exchanging messages.
  • “Did you suffer a setback in the final against Australia at the 2015 World Cup?” What motivated you.
    ▶ “I think it is a part of soccer rather than revenge.” In 2015, my heart ached more. It hurt more than anyone else because I felt like I had missed a good opportunity. However, those games and experiences gave me an opportunity to grow as a soccer player. Rather than revenge against Australia, I played the game with only those in mind because there are goals that our team thinks about.
  • The physical fitness problem seems to be quite difficult. How is your condition.
    ▶I don’t think I’ve ever had two consecutive overtime plays as a soccer player. You have to overcome it with your mental strength, not with a lot of difficulties than you think. This is the beauty of a tournament, I think. Having a hard time because you are playing for your country is an excuse. Now, there are only four teams left in the tournament to fight for one championship cup. There is no need for any excuse or pain. I will play with only one goal.
  • What Son Heungmin left at the end
    ▶ Players who play in matches receive spotlight and attention. However, I hope that players who failed to play in the bench and those who failed to enter the stadium will receive attention today.


View all

view all