Send to

Injured captain Son Heung-min ready for 'unforgettable' World Cup

Nov. 16, 2022 - 09:55 By Yonhap
South Korea captain Son Heung-min waves to cameras after arriving at Hamad International Airport in Doha for the FIFA World Cup on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

DOHA -- Sporting black-rimmed glasses over his injured face, South Korea captain Son Heung-min landed in Doha in the early hours of Wednesday, becoming the last member of his country's World Cup squad to arrive in the host country.

Son, the Tottenham Hotspur star and South Korea's top offensive weapon, is recovering from multiple fractures around his left eye after a collision with an opponent during a match two weeks ago. He underwent surgery on Nov. 4 and has since expressed a willingness to play at the World Cup wearing a protective mask.

In a media scrum at Hamad International Airport, Son said he didn't have further updates on his condition.

"We'll just have to keep monitoring the situation and see how I recover," Son said. "As I've said all along, I will do the best I can and make sure I never let people down. I want to have an unforgettable World Cup with my teammates."

A South Korean national team official said Tuesday evening that Son would travel with a mask built by Spurs, though it wasn't yet clear Son would play in it during the World Cup.

Son, 30, is one of three South Koreans to be selected for the third straight World Cup. He leads all players on this 26-man squad with 104 caps and 35 goals.

Head coach Paulo Bento announced his team Saturday in Seoul, and 18 of those 26 players arrived in Qatar early Monday. They were later joined by players traveling in from Europe, except for Son, and had their first training session Monday evening.

With Son on hand, the national team will gather for the official team photo around 9:45 a.m. and then have a training session starting at about 10 a.m. at the Al Egla Training Facility in Doha, with only the first 15 minutes open to media. Son will have a press conference afterward.

South Korea will kick off their 10th consecutive World Cup against Uruguay on Nov. 24. They will then play Ghana on Nov. 28 and Portugal on Dec. 2 to round out the group stage. All three games will take place at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha. (Yonhap)