Equipped with the decisiveness of the big leagues’ best, the Corian Guys will embark on South Korean soccer’s first journey to the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America. Captain Son Heung-min (32-Tottenham), Hwang Hee-chan (28-Wolverhampton), and Lee Kang-in (23-Paris Saint-Germain-PSG), the “Son-Hwang-Yi Trio,” the core of the national team’s “Clean Sweepers,” will be looking forward to their home opener against Singapore in the first match of Group C of the North American World Cup Asia Zone Second Qualifying Round, kicking off at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Seoul World Cup Stadium.
After reaching the round of 16 away from home for the first time in 12 years at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, South Korean soccer will be aiming higher in the North American tournament, which will be played across three countries (Canada, the United States, and Mexico). Expectations are high as the Son-Hwang trio boasts one of the most decorated offensive lineups in history, including second-choice striker Lee Jae-sung (Mainz) and big defender Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich).
Before that, the first mission of the ‘Klinsmann’ is to win the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar next January. South Korea, which hasn’t won the Asian Cup in more than half a century after winning the inaugural edition in 1956 and the 1960 edition in Seoul, will be hoping to beat Asian rivals such as Japan, Saudi Arabia and Iran for the first time in 64 years. The tournament is also a test of continuity for Klinsmann, who has been embroiled in frequent attendance controversies since his appointment earlier this year.
Klinsmann has called upon his elite squad for the two World Cup second-round qualifiers against Singapore and China (Nov. 21 – away), as well as an exhibition match against Vietnam (6-0) in Suwon last month. This is a sign of the team’s determination to not only perform well in the second round of qualifying, but also to build an optimal organization and team culture before the Asian Cup itself.
Klinsmann warned against “letting our guard down” at the pre-match press conference at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. He had watched the Asian Champions League group stage match between Jeonbuk Hyundai and Singapore’s top-ranked Ryan City before the tournament. At the time, Jeonbuk, a top K League 1 team, suffered a shocking 0-2 loss to Ryan City. The majority of Singapore’s top players are from Ryan City. They are led by ‘Korean naturalized player’ Song Eui-young (Surabaya).
“I saw the Singaporean team beat a K League powerhouse,” Klinsmann said. It’s a warning to the national team,” he said, vowing to give it their all. The same goes for Son Heung-min. He had played against Ryan City during Tottenham’s pre-season last summer. It ended in a 1-1 draw. “It’s not easy to break through any team’s defense when they play together,” he said. It’s important to create chances and score early.”
Indeed, Singapore’s net defense will be a strong point against South Korea. That’s why Klinsmann played Vietnam in an exhibition match last month, and why they’ll be facing a similar style of team at the Asian Cup. 카지노사이트
Against Vietnam, Klinsmann focused on the “Son, Huang, and Lee trio,” using quick passing in tight spaces and maximizing individual tactics. The Singapore game will likely feature a similar attack.
Encouragingly, the strikers’ goal-scoring ability is among the best in the big leagues. Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan are third (8 goals) and sixth (6 goals) on the English Premier League (EPL) scoring list, respectively. Son, who also wears the captain’s armband and leads the front line for Tottenham this season, has scored 0.67 goals per game (8 goals in 12 games), which is on par with his 2021-2022 season (0.66 goals in 35 games, 23 goals). Hwang has attempted just six shots on goal in 12 games this season and has a “perfect decision-making” that has resulted in a 100% conversion rate.
The rise of Lee Kang-in, who won a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games last month and received a special exemption from military service, has also been remarkable. After scoring two goals in two consecutive matches against Tunisia and Vietnam last month, including his A-match debut, he has become a ‘scorer’ since returning to PSG. He scored his PSG debut against AC Milan in the European Champions League (3-0 win), followed by his Ligue 1 debut and second goal of the season against Montpellier. In between, he set up Kylian Mbappe’s goal against Brest and recorded his first assist of the season. Over the course of the month, he played in all six of PSG’s official matches, scoring two goals and providing one assist.
In addition, frontline striker Hwang Eui-jo (Norwich City) is also in top form, scoring his first goal in Europe in 566 days late last month in the English Championship (2nd Division).
It will be interesting to see if Klinsmann’s men can put on a ‘fireworks show’ once again against Singapore.