Where EAST meets the Northwest
ANNUAL ASIAN GAMES. Son Heung-Min, right, of South Korea, shoots on goal
during a men’s soccer match between South Korea and Malaysia at the Asian Games
at Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Bandung, Indonesia. The Tottenham forward landed
in Indonesia for the Asian Games two days after making his first appearance in
the Premier League. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
From The Asian Reporter, V28, #16 (August 20, 2018), page 10.
Son Heung-min travels to Indonesia for the Asian Games
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — After making his first appearance of the Premier
League season on August 11, Tottenham forward Son Heung-min landed in Indonesia
two days later to play for South Korea at the Asian Games.
The 25-team soccer tournament is not officially recognized by the Fédération
Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), but Tottenham allowed the
26-year-old Son to leave England after the 2-1 win at Newcastle.
Son is one of three overage players on the under-23 team. If South Korea wins
the gold medal, Son will be exempt from 21 months of military service, an
obligation he is otherwise expected to start within the next two years.
"Of course our target is gold, but it is a long way to get to the final," Son
said on his arrival at Bandung International Airport. "How we approach the game
mentally is important. I have thought about the Asian Games a lot."
Son missed the 2014 Asian Games because he was not released by former club,
South Korea, which will have four members of its World Cup team on the
roster, is favored to win the title in Indonesia. In Russia, the South Koreans
were knocked out in the group stage, but defeated Germany 2-0, eliminating the
defending champions in the process.
"We beat Germany at the World Cup when nobody expected it," said Son, who
scored twice in Russia. "Like that, we could lose to other Asian teams here. We
have to take each game as it comes, however, and if we don’t give everything in
every game then it will be tough."
The other 19 members of the team arrived August 11. One of the standouts at
the World Cup was goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, another overage player. Cho has
already applied to start his military service in December, but could be exempt
with a gold medal.
"The World Cup is in the past now and I want to focus on the Asian Games,"
Cho said. "We want to show what we are made of and Son told me he just wants to
score lots of goals."
South Korea defeated Bahrain 6-0 in its opening group match, but was then
stunned by Malaysia, who beat them 2-1. The final group match against Kyrgyzstan
is scheduled for Monday, August 20.
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