South Korea’s national soccer team, led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, trained at Al-Eglah Training Center near Doha, Qatar, on the morning of the 27th (local time) in preparation for the round of 16 of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup against Saudi Arabia.
South Korea scored six goals in the group stage, winning one game, drawing two and ranking second in the group.
Although it is considered a “candidate for the championship,” it drew 2-2 with Jordan and 3-3 with Malaysia, ranked 130th in the FIFA rankings.
The performance is so bad that there are also criticisms against coach Klinsmann and players.
Immediately after the match against Malaysia on the 25th, the atmosphere of the team was reportedly subdued.
Coach Klinsmann gave him a break without training on the 26th, breaking the “bad flow.”
Perhaps that’s why the players who showed up at the training ground on this day didn’t look so dark.
Son Heung-min has stepped up as a “mood maker.”
Prior to training, five or six players, including him, took turns shooting from the mini goalpost.
Son Heung-min stepped up as the “goalkeeper.” He opened his arms and blocked the shot with exaggerated gestures.
Once, he fell in a ridiculous pose when the ball flew toward his upper body. His teammates laughed out loud.
Son Heung-min’s voice was especially loud during the training. He has always been like that at the training site when the national team was riding a bad flow.
At the press conference after the match against Malaysia, he appealed to the media and fans to “protect the players without shaking them.”
Prior to the training, Klinsmann lined up his players and spoke for about seven minutes. When his speech was over and the training began in earnest, the cloudy sky cleared up and bright sunlight shone on the ground.
All 26 Taegeuk Warriors came to the training site. Among them, 25 players except Lee Ki-je (Suwon), who injured his hamstring (back thigh muscle) in the second group match, exercised normally.
Lee Ki-je trained separately from the mandatory trainer on one side.
Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk) and Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), who returned from injury in the third game, are also in good physical condition now, a national team official said. “I think the team’s atmosphere has improved compared to immediately after the match against Malaysia.”
The round of 16 match between South Korea and Saudi Arabia will be held at 1 a.m. Korean time on the 31st at Education City Stadium in Alayyan.