Son Heung-min continues to insist, the players are mentally struggling

First call-up after controversy over Asian Cup ‘reversal award’
European players, including Lee Kang-in, are expected to join on the 19th

South Korea’s national soccer team has gathered again ahead of the second consecutive Asian qualifying round against Thailand for the 2026 North-China World Cup Asia, leaving behind the disappointment of being eliminated in the semifinals of the Asian Cup.

The A national team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, who took over as interim head coach, began training at 4 p.m. on the 18th in preparation for the match against Thailand at Goyang Stadium in Gyeonggi Province.

Six players from Europe including Son Heung-min Tottenham Hotspur, Kim Min-jae Bayern Munich and Lee Kang-in Paris Saint-Germain could not join the team on the first day of training due to schedule to return to Korea. Only 17 players participated on the day.

It is the first national team call-up since the elimination of the semifinals of the Asian Cup and the replacement of German coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The mood is unsettling as the controversy over the so-called “table tennis incident” and the controversy over the card game including employees of the Korea Football Association have been revealed.

Hwang told reporters ahead of the first training session, “Since not all the players have convened yet, it is difficult to talk about this for a long time, but we are having time to personally meet and listen to them and interact with them. Once we are on the field, let’s make them happy and cheerful.” “I will talk about various things when all the players gather,” Hwang said.

Unusually, he was seen distancing himself from the media as he revealed only the first 15 minutes from the first convocation training. There was no player interviewed. According to the association, it is a way to control the unstable and chaotic atmosphere along with the meaning of self-reflection.

“I think we have to do our best to make up for the disappointment,” Hwang said. “The players are under a lot of pressure and are mentally struggling. I hope the people here and the fans will help us focus more and play. I will do my best to repay you with one heart.”

“I want to train in a bright and pleasant atmosphere when I come out on the field, but I have homework to solve. I’m going to train and play clearly when everyone joins me,” he added.

Regarding captain Son Heung-min, who is known to have thought about retiring after the Asian Cup, he said, “What I am saying is important, but I want to hear it. I want to hear what you have, and what you have in the future. I think we need to find a way,” adding, “I agree with all the players that they should actively solve the problem. I will think about what method would be good.”

Son Heung-min will take charge of the captaincy as it is.

In the case of Lee Kang-in, Cho Kyu-sung Mitt Whelan, and Hong Hyun-suk Hent, they can join on the 19th after completing their teams’ schedules. There is not enough time to train until the first game on the 21st.

“It’s a bit of concern. If I order a lot of things now, it could get more complicated, so I’m going to do it in a simple and intensive manner,” Hwang said.

Hwang Sun-hong will play the third leg of the second round of the World Cup qualifying round against Thailand at Seoul World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. on the 21st, and leave for Thailand on the 22nd. It will play the fourth game against Thailand at 9:30 p.m. on the 26th in Korean time at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.

Korea ranks first in Group C with two consecutive wins against Singapore 5-0 win and China 3-0 win, respectively, in the first and second matches held in November last year. Thailand, the opponent team, has one win and one loss.

Winning both consecutive games with Thailand may confirm their advance to the World Cup final qualifying round early. 메이저사이트