Back in the hunt for the ‘first win’.
The South Korean national soccer team, led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, will face El Salvador on June 20 at 8 p.m. at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium in their second June A match.
South Korea lost 0-1 in the first leg against Peru on June 16. They took a knee when they weren’t 100 percent. In addition to “captain” Son Heung-min (Tottenham), who missed the game due to sports hernia surgery, “main center back” Kim Min-jae (Napoli) was out for military training, and “veteran defender” Kim Young-kwon (Ulsan Hyundai) was out due to injury.
Son Heung-min, who did not play against Peru, is expected to play against El Salvador. However, he will not start.
At the pre-match press conference on the 19th, Klinsmann said, “Son Heung-min has been training very hard every day since Paju. He is getting better every day. However, he will not start against El Salvador. He won’t be able to play the full 90 minutes. We’re thinking of bringing him on in the second half. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
Son Heung-min returns as South Korea desperately need a win.
Klinsmann is still without a win since taking over in March. South Korea drew 1-1 (2-2 against Colombia and 2-1 against Uruguay) in two consecutive March A matches.
After three consecutive games without a win, Klinsmann’s side will look to get back on the winning track against El Salvador. South Korea’s last A-match victory came on Dec. 3 last year against Portugal in the final group game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It’s been more than six months.
“We still don’t have our first win (under Klinsmann),” said Son Heung-min. The players know what it means to play El Salvador. We are preparing in 안전놀이터 a bright and positive mood. I hope we can win the game.”
El Salvador (75th) is 48 places below South Korea (27th) in the FIFA rankings. They lost an away exhibition match against Japan 0-6 on Nov. 15.
“In my meeting with the players, I told them to put El Salvador’s loss to Japan out of their minds. I think they’re going to play a completely different team than the one that lost to Japan. I told them not to let their guard down.”
“Against Japan, we conceded two goals in the first three minutes,” said El Salvador head coach Hugo Perez. “We lost two goals in the first three minutes of the game, and when we got another player sent off, everything changed,” he said. “We want to get a different result against South Korea. We don’t want a repeat of what happened against Japan,” he said through gritted teeth.
El Salvador is a team that South Korea has never faced before.
El Salvador has twice qualified for the World Cup, but the last time was at the 1982 World Cup in Spain. The team has been on the rise in recent years, with players of El Salvadoran descent playing in the United States and Europe. At the 2021 North and Central American Gold Cup, they reached the quarterfinals.
“We know that Son Heung-min didn’t play against Peru,” said Perez, who is determined to win against South Korea. He’s the most threatening,” Perez said, adding, “Besides that, South Korea is strong as a whole. They have strong players in every line. They also have Lee Kang-in, who played well against Peru.”