‘All-time’ Son-Lee-Hwang Trio… ‘Serious Mode’ Clinsmanho looks forward to WC’s first trip to Singapore’s ‘bombing’
(Xinhua) – The South Korean national soccer team, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, has begun its journey to the 2026 North American World Cup.
Klinsmann’s squad held its first training session of the November A-match schedule at Mokdong Sports Complex in Yangcheon-gu, Seoul, on Wednesday.
The Klinsmann’s will face Singapore at 8 p.m. on Nov. 16 at Seoul World Cup Stadium in the first match of Group C of the World Cup Asia Zone 2 qualifiers. The team will then travel to China on the 19th to face China in the second leg at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center on the 21st at 9 p.m. KST.
South Korea will compete against China, Singapore and Thailand in Group C of the 2026 FIFA World Cup North and Central America Second Qualifying Round in Asia. The 2026 World Cup, co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico, will see a change in the qualification process as the number of nations participating in the tournament increases from 32 to 48.
The number of tickets allocated to Asia has increased from 4.5 to 8.5. In October, 20 teams ranked 27th to 46th in the FIFA Asia Rankings were selected for the first round of qualifying, which narrowed the field to 10 teams.
A total of 36 teams will compete in the second round, including the teams ranked 1-26 in the FIFA Asia Rankings and the 10 teams that made it through the first round.
The 36 teams will be divided into nine groups of four teams and play a home-and-away round-robin format, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the final round of 18 teams and a spot at the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
The 18 qualifying teams will be divided into three groups of six teams and play a home-and-home round-robin format, with the top two teams from each group earning a direct ticket to the World Cup.
In the final round of qualifying, the six teams that finish third or fourth in each group will compete again in two groups of three, with the top two teams earning two tickets to the World Cup. The runner-up three teams will face off against each other to determine who advances to the intercontinental playoffs.
The Klinsmanns will start the second round of qualifiers with a full roster as they look to qualify for their 11th consecutive World Cup.
The roster is largely the same as the one that participated in October and will travel back and forth between South Korea and China.
Captain Son Heung-min (Tottenham), key defender Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich), midfielders Lee Jae-sung (Mainz) and Hwang In-beom (Zvezda), and key overseas players Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton) and Cho Kyu-sung (Mittwillan) are all included. Lee Kang-in, who scored his debut goal in the A-Match in October, is also in the squad.
With a full-fledged World Cup qualification system and the upcoming Asian Cup in Qatar next January, Klinsmann will be looking to improve the organization and performance of the squad.
In particular, the national team’s second-string attacking line is an ultra-luxury group. Hwang Hee-chan, Son Heung-min, and Lee Kang-in are among the best in Asia, Europe, and South America.
Son Heung-min, the Premier League’s top scorer in 2021/22, is set to be the Premier League’s most potent attacker again in 2023/24. With Tottenham on the rise, he is filling the void left by Harry Kane’s departure with eight goals in 12 league games. What’s more, he’s also been recognized for his leadership, having captained Spurs this season.레모나토토 도메인
Hwang Hee-chan is also having a career-high season. After spending the previous two seasons dealing with hamstring injuries, Hwang has been injury-free this season, scoring 12 goals and adding six assists.
Both players have exploded onto the scene early in the season and are currently in the top 10 Premier League scorers. Son is tied for third with Jared Bowen (West Ham), while Hwang is tied for sixth with Alexander Isaac (Newcastle), Nicolas Sarkozy (Chelsea), Bryan Mbemo (Brentford), Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth), and Olly Watkins (Aston Villa).
Lee moved on and began to make his mark at a big club. Since his move to French Ligue 1 giants PSG, he’s been able to utilize his length and form a great partnership with Kylian Mbappe.
With Luis Enrique’s tactical experimentation coming to a close, we’re looking forward to seeing how he uses Lee in the future.
If Lee didn’t play a key role at the last World Cup in Qatar 2022, he’s been labeled the de facto centerpiece of the attack at Klinsmann’s, and the three-man combination is highly anticipated. Add to that the frontline strikers of Cho Kyu-sung, Hwang Eui-jo, and Oh Hyun-gyu, and the synergy will be multiplied.
With such a stellar attacking lineup, Klinsmann’s men will face an underdog in Singapore. Singapore is ranked 155th by FIFA, lower than Hong Kong (150th), Indonesia (145th), Malaysia (137th), and Thailand (112th). Singapore is the de facto underdog in Group C, having defeated Guam in the first round to advance to the second round.
Klinsmann expects to be in serious mode against the Singaporeans, who have a huge weight difference. “Of course, every game is very important, especially at home, and a lot of players are in good form, so I think we will try to have a good synergy with each other, and I think we will prepare individually to be as good as we can be if we want to score a goal. We will show the best version of ourselves at home, and since it’s our last home game of the year, we want to show it even more,” he said.
Hwang In-beom added, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in Korea and we’re starting the second round of qualifying, so I’ve had a very difficult experience in the second round of the previous World Cup. I don’t think we can take anything for granted, so I think we need to prepare well with the players and staff so that we can achieve a good result.”
In his press conference, Klinsmann emphasized decisiveness. “When you’re playing a team that’s down defensively, a team that’s a level above us and a level below us, it’s important to get our tempo and rhythm going from the start. If we wait until the second half to find our rhythm because they’re down, it’s hard,” he said.
“The thing that upset me in Vietnam was that we missed three or four chances. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you won’t get them again. Against Singapore, it’s all about when the first goal comes. We need to be proactive and aggressive in our preparation. That will make it easier for us.”