SEOUL, South Korea –
In a shock to nobody, Tottenham ahead Son Heung-min is headlining South Korea’s squad for the third straight World Cup as coach Paulo Bento locations his hopes on his famous person striker who’s recovering from a fractured eye socket.
Bento additionally chosen Napoli defender Kim Min-jae and Mallorca attacking midfielder Lee Kang-in however overlooked speedy Ulsan Hyundai winger Um Won-sang when he named his 26-player roster Saturday for the match in Qatar.
Son, who has scored 35 objectives in 104 internationals, hasn’t performed since Nov. 2 when he sustained a fracture round his left eye following a collision with Marseille’s Chancel Mbemba whereas taking part in for Tottenham within the UEFA Champions League.
While recovering from surgical procedure, Son mentioned this week that he expects to play in Qatar with a protecting masks, reassuring followers on Instagram that he would not “miss this for the world.”
But there are issues whether or not he would have the ability to show one thing near his prime kind following the injury-related layoff, after Bento spent years rigorously constructing his offense round Son’s velocity, two-footed taking pictures reflexes and dead-ball accuracy.
At a media convention in Seoul, Bento mentioned it stays unclear when Son would have the ability to resume coaching with the nationwide staff, saying his situation was being analyzed day-by-day.
Separate from the 26 gamers formally on his roster, Bento can also be taking Suwon Samsung ahead Oh Hyeon-gyu as an emergency reserve who might step in if Son or different injured gamers aren’t match sufficient to play.
“The most vital (factor) is he recovers in addition to attainable, feels comfy,” Bento mentioned of Son.
Son gained the Premier League’s Golden Boot final season after sharing the scoring lead in English soccer’s prime flight, strengthening his case because the nation’s biggest participant ever.
Before Son’s harm, some analysts had thought of Bento’s squad because the strongest staff South Korea has ever assembled, at the very least on paper, with Son being supported by a number of gamers of their 20s and 30s getting common minutes in European soccer.
Still, even when Son is wholesome, South Korea is seen as an outsider to get out of Group H, which incorporates Uruguay, Portugal and Ghana.
Son is not the one injured participant on Bento’s roster. Kim Jin-su, who has been Bento’s first alternative at left fullback, is coping with a hamstring harm. Kim’s health is essential as Bento depends closely on his fullbacks to supply width to the assault, though the area they depart behind has created defensive issues South Korea has struggled to repair.
Qatar marks South Korea’s eleventh look on the World Cup and its tenth straight. The nation has reached the knockout rounds solely twice — making the semifinals at residence in 2002, and the final 16 within the 2010 match in South Africa.
South Korea breezed via Asian qualifying however has seemed underwhelming in latest friendlies, together with Friday’s laborious 1-0 win over Iceland at residence. That match got here at the price of defender Park Ji-su, who sustained an ankle harm that left him out of the World Cup squad.
With Son recovering from an harm, the strain is on different attackers equivalent to Wolverhampton winger Hwang Hee-chan and Jeonbuk Hyundai ahead Cho Gue-sung to step up.
Despite the staff’s defensive issues, Bento at the very least has a stable middle again pairing in veteran Kim Young-gwon and Napoli star Kim Min-jae, who brings a uncommon mixture of measurement, velocity and power to the staff.
SOUTH KOREA SQUAD IN FULL
Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Al Shabab), Jo Hyeon-woo (Ulsan Hyundai), Song Bum-keun (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors).
Defenders: Kim Min-jae (Napoli), Kim Young-gwon (Ulsan Hyundai), Kwon Kyung-won (Gamba Osaka), Cho Yu-min (Daejeon HanaCitizen), Kim Moon-hwan (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) ,Yoon Jong-gyu (FC Seoul), Kim Tae-hwan (Ulsan Hyundai), Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) ,Hong Chul (Daegu FC).
Midfielders: Jung Woo-young (Al Sadd), Son Jun-ho (Shandong Taishan), Paik Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos), Lee Jae-sung (1.FSV Mainz), Kwon Chang-hoon (Gimcheon Sangmu), Jeong Woo-yeong (SC Freiburg), Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhamton), Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul), Song Min-kyu (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors).
Forwards: Hwang Ui-jo (Olympiacos), Cho Gue-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors).