Klinsmann’s captain, Son Heung-min (31), is a herder. The Taegeuk Warriors’ World Cup journey has just begun.
Klinsmann’s team, which is competing in the second round of Asian qualifying for the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026, gathered at a hotel in Seoul on Sept. 13 before taking the field at the Mokdong Sports Complex main stadium.레모나토토
South Korea will play the first leg of the qualifiers against Singapore at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sept. 16 before traveling to China for the second leg at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center on Sept. 21.
Only 11 of the 23 players in the squad gathered for training on the first day of the call-up. Eight of them – Lee Kang-in, Kim Min-jae, Kim Young-kwon, Seol Young-woo, Kim Tae-hwan, Kim Jin-soo, Moon Sun-min and Cho Hyun-woo – held recovery training at a hotel fitness center, according to the Korea Football Association. Europeans Hwang Eui-jo, Cho Kyu-sung, Oh Hyun-kyu and Hong Hyun-seok, who arrived a day late, will join the team on day two.
The call-up took place at the Mokdong Stadium main stadium, rather than the existing Paju National Training Center (NFC). The Paju NFC has been used by the age-group national teams, including the A team, for the past 20 years. However, outdated facilities, turf problems, and the cold weather in Paju led to the change of venue. “We are in talks with Paju NFC to extend the contract,” said an association official. “The football center being built in Cheonan is about two years away from completion. Until then, we will convene at a hotel in Seoul and at Mokdong Stadium.”
Hwang Hee-chan, who has never been to Mokdong Stadium before, said, “I’m not sure (what the training environment will be like) because it’s my first time. We don’t have a lot of time to train, so I think we need to focus and keep our feet in sync,” he said.
The training started at 5pm. As the sun went down, the temperature dropped dramatically. The team practiced in the -5-degree wind chill. Once on the field, the players warmed up with a light passing game. Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan, who arrived on the day, were a little tired, but they were in good spirits and smiling.
During the passing game, “atmosphere maker” Son Heung-min threw a hard pass toward goalkeeper Song Bum-geun, who was hit by the ball and fell down laughing. Son Heung-min then did push-ups as a punishment during training. Coach Cha Doo-ri shouted at the players to cheer them up.
“I don’t think we’re an underdog at all,” Hwang Hee-chan told reporters of his first-round opponent, Singapore, “Every game is important in World Cup qualifying. Many of our players are in good form, so we will have a good synergy,” he said. “We will try to score as many goals as possible, not just one or two. It’s a home game and it’s the last game of the year, so we’re going to give the best performance we can.”
On his nagging hamstring injury, he said, “I can’t say I’m completely fine, but I’m still managing it to make sure it doesn’t get worse. It’s a nagging injury, so I’m conscious of it, but it’s fine for now.”
Hwang In-beom, the “center back” who was injured during the October call-up and was benched for both the Tunisia and Vietnam matches, has also fully recovered from his injury. He said, “The area that was bad in the last call-up is almost healed. I have no problem playing 90 minutes now,” he said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in Korea and we’re starting the second round of World Cup qualifying. I had a tough experience in the last World Cup qualifiers, and this time I think ‘nothing is given for granted’. I will prepare well with the coaching staff and players.”