The South Korean national football team, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, cruised to a 5-0 victory over Singapore in the first match of Group C of the second Asian qualifying round for the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
It was Klinsmann’s third consecutive multi-goal game, scoring four or more goals against Tunisia and Vietnam in October. After struggling for a while despite Klinsmann’s call for attacking soccer, the Klinsmanns carried the firepower they showed in the two October friendlies into the real world of World Cup qualifying.레모나토토
The game was one-sided. South Korea drew their line high and began their attacking work from high up the pitch. Hwang In-beom, playing in a three-man midfield, was the focal point of the buildup between the two center backs, while Lee Jae-sung and Son Heung-min moved more freely to exploit the space between the defenses. On the flanks, Hwang Hee-chan and Lee Kang-in worked to open up the defense with their long runs. Up front, Cho Kyu-sung tried to create chances through aggressive defensive contests with his opponents.
However, Singapore’s goal remained firmly closed. Singapore maintained a low defense line and tight spacing, leaving no space for the Korean players. Even in one-on-one situations, they were not pushed around. In fact, it was the Koreans who grew nervous when the goal didn’t come.
Luckily, South Korea’s first goal came just before the end of the first half, as Cho Kyu-sung, who had a goal disallowed midway through the first half due to an offside call, made up for it with a goal just before halftime. Cho rattled the net with a calm finish in a one-on-one situation after receiving a precise cross from Lee Kang-in.
The second half goal came early. Early in the second half, Lee Kang-in created space with a dribbling break, and when he was tripped up by the opposing defense, Cho Kyu-sung picked up the loose ball and sent a cross into the box. Hwang Hee-chan connected with a header for the second goal.
It was a Korean goal party after that. Captain Son Heung-min scored his team’s third goal with a sharp left-footed curler from the ‘Son Heung-min zone’ outside the box, and then substitute Hwang Eui-jo converted a penalty kick earned by Seol Young-woo to drive a wedge into the game. Later in the game, Lee Kang-in capped the scoring with a powerful mid-range shot from outside the box. The game ended with a 5-0 victory for South Korea.
After the game, “Captain” Son Heung-min was interviewed. Son started against Singapore and ran around the field in the first half to open up space for his teammates, and then got on the scoresheet in the second half with a sharp left-footed curling shot.
“Regardless of the result, it was not an easy game. The players’ dedication and hard work made this result possible. I think there will be more games like this in the future. Today’s game was definitely a good training session. I think we’re doing a lot of our homework when we’re able to create a lot of offensive chances, so I think that’s a good thing. In the end, the first step is always the most important, and I think we did a good job. I think we need to forget about today’s match and prepare well for the next one.”
The first question was about Lee Kang-in. In the post-match press conference, Klinsmann smiled as he said that it was a pleasure to watch Lee grow step by step and that he was happy for Korean soccer. As the captain of the national team, Lee’s senior, and one of the veterans, Son Heung-min was asked how he views Lee’s progress.
“It’s very interesting. As a soccer player, I think it’s an incredibly good phenomenon to be able to intrigue and entertain people, and (Lee) feels a lot of responsibility for that. He is also very grateful that so many soccer fans like him so much. It’s a lot of fun as a soccer player and as a person to watch him grow every moment on the field, step by step. I think he definitely has a lot more to offer,” said Klinsmann, who, like Lee, enjoys watching him grow.
“His talent is really, really unbelievable, so I think we should enjoy watching him play and try to prevent a talented player like him from breaking down under too much pressure. I want to help him a lot from the sidelines, and I don’t know what he thinks, but I hope he can accept it well and grow into a better player,” he said, expressing his hope that Lee Kang-in will grow into a better player.
We also looked back at the goal. Son Heung-min scored from the so-called “Son Heung-min zone” in front of the box. He is both right-footed and left-footed and is most dangerous when he gets the ball outside the box. Again, as soon as he had the space to fire a left-footed shot, he cut back sharply, and the ball left his feet and sailed into the top left corner of the opponent’s goal.
Now it was on. Heung-min had gotten to the point where he could tell if a shot was going to score by its trajectory. “Every time I shoot from that position, I feel like I have a lot of confidence. Maybe it’s just a habit, but I’ve been training so much that I feel confident every time I try to shoot. Even today, when I took the shot and I saw the trajectory of the ball, the power, the speed, all of that, it felt really good, so I knew it was going to go in. I was fortunate to be on a good course and to be able to help the team win a little bit.”
As such, Son Heung-min, who can pose a threat to opponents at any time, is also an object of scrutiny. On this day, Heung-min received a lot of criticism from the Singaporean players. After the game, Coach Klinsmann was angry at him for committing an unnecessary foul at 4-0. This resulted in Son Heung-min going down for a while and appearing to be in pain.
He said, “I’m fine now. I actually don’t like to lie down for that long on the field. At the time, I couldn’t feel my legs a little bit, but I’m fine now,” he said.
“I don’t think I’m the only one. All athletes have aches and pains and always play with small injuries. When you’re called up to play for the Korean national team, it’s something that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid, and it’s something that my team has to build on to get to the World Cup, so I can’t just stop playing because I’m sick. If I really can’t play, I can’t help it, but as long as I can play, I’m going to do my best for the team. I’m always going to do my best to help the team,” he said, adding that even in the same situation, you have to play through it.
On the 16th, the college math proficiency test was held. A large number of test takers came to the stadium after the SAT to cheer on the Korean athletes. Son Heung-min had expressed his support for the test takers at a press conference a day before the game and on his social media accounts. During the interview, Heung-min was asked to say something to the test takers who came to the stadium to cheer them on after the SATs, as well as to those who struggled to take the test.
Heung-min said, “The test takers have suffered so much, and I hope they will pursue their dreams well and diligently regardless of the results. As I said in the press conference, I hope you don’t get scared. This is the stage of learning by doing and making mistakes. You can learn a lot about society and life in this way. I hope you always have the courage to go forward with this. I really want to tell you that I really struggled a lot and support your future dreams,” he said.
Son Heung-min also said, “There were so many fans at the stadium today. The weather was so cold and rainy, and there must be people who have to go to work again tomorrow, so I am very, very grateful for this. It’s a great honor to be able to play in this stadium in front of these fans who love soccer. It’s because of you that we’re able to play well, and it’s because of you that we are the soccer players that we are. It’s a great feeling of pride. I will always strive to be a player who repays the expectations and support of many soccer fans in the future,” he said, thanking the fans who visited the stadium.
Son Heung-min will now travel to China with the rest of the team. The match against China will take place on the evening of the 21st at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China.
One of the concerns is China’s rough play. The Chinese are known for their rough play. Players could get injured in the process, and the lack of a VAR could lead to unfair calls that seem like rough fouls.
Speaking about the game against China, Son Heung-min said, “When you play soccer, there can be rough situations. When we play against strong teams, we keep telling ourselves to play rough. When an Asian team plays us, they will definitely try to be rough, and they will try to make us angry and frustrated. It can be a tactic in a way. It’s a play that can go anywhere,” he said, adding that he thinks the other team has no choice but to play rough.
However, Son added, “If we don’t get caught up in it and play our game, we can definitely play a good game. We don’t have to be afraid of China or any other team, and if we play the way we should, I think we can bring home a good result,” he said, emphasizing that if we do what we’ve prepared, we can get a good result.
It wasn’t an easy game regardless of the result. Thanks to the players’ dedication and hard work, we were able to achieve this result. I think there will be more matches like this in the future. Today’s game was definitely a good training session. We