‘National treasure’ Son Heung-min (31, Tottenham Hotspur) goes down injured and Jürgen Klinsmann does nothing. I wonder if he’s qualified to coach.
Klinsmann’s South Korea national soccer team cruised to a 5-0 victory over Singapore in the first match of the 2026 FIFA North American Football Confederations Cup Asia Region Second Qualifying Round at the Seoul World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
With the three points, South Korea tops Group C of the second qualifying round. South Korea will travel to Shenzhen, China, to face China in the second leg on June 21.
The match was a comfortable win. Lee Kang-in scored the first goal in the 44th minute with an assist from Cho Kyu-sung, followed by Hwang Hee-chan in the fourth minute and Son Heung-min in the 18th minute. Substitute Hwang Eui-jo also opened the scoring with a penalty kick conceded by Son Heung-min. Lee Kang-in, who added the final goal in the 40th minute, finished with one goal and one assist.
The only blemish was Klinsmann’s management of the squad. Son Heung-min’s third goal 18 minutes into the second half put South Korea up 3-0 and effectively sealed the game. At this point, it would make sense to rest Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae, who are key players and play full-time for their respective teams, for the upcoming matches 아톰카지노 주소.
But Klinsmann had other ideas. In the 20th minute of the second half, he dropped Lee Ki-je, Cho Kyu-sung, and Lee Jae-sung in favor of Kim Jin-soo, Hwang Eui-jo, and Jung Woo-young. Five minutes later, he dropped Hwang Hee-chan and Hwang In-beom in favor of Oh Hyun-gyu and Lee Sun-min. It was an aggressive change to try and score more goals by switching up the attackers and midfielders.
With all five substitutions already used up, Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae were forced to play the full game. With three goals down, the Singaporeans started to get rough. A Singaporean player tripped Son Heung-min from behind, causing him to cry out in pain. Heung-min touched his calf and grimaced. There were already signs that Son was not feeling well, but Klinsmann didn’t realize the timing of the substitution.
Eventually, he was sent off. Son was brought down by a rough foul from Shahid Shahiran in the second half of a 4-0 win. He was kicked hard in the knee and lay on the pitch for a while in pain. Son Heung-min fell heavily and groaned. A 5-0 win means nothing if the “national treasure” goes down. There’s no point in regretting cutting open the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Even the medical staff came in to check Son’s injury. Klinsmann looked devastated as he realized the seriousness of the situation. He tried to appeal to the referee, but the water had already been spilled.
Luckily, Son Heung-min was able to get up and play the rest of the game. Heung-min is a competitive and responsible player, so despite his injury and pain, he gave 100% to his captain’s duties. Even if Klinsmann wanted to take Son off late, he had no substitutes left. It was a clear failure on Klinsmann’s part.
If Son Heung-min had been seriously injured, the Singaporean player would have been directly at fault, but Klinsmann was 100% to blame for not being able to predict and deal with the situation in advance. With three points already secured for the underdog Singapore, a few more goals could have seriously injured the ‘national treasure’. Does Klinsmann have no idea what’s in it for him? Why doesn’t he manage Son Heung-min? What is the role of a manager if he can’t manage his players?
After the game, Klinsmann blamed the Singaporean for the late challenge that injured Son. “I was angry when I saw the foul at 4-0. It was an inappropriate and unnecessary foul. I was very angry in the moment,” he said.
However, soccer fans are more upset with Klinsmann for allowing Son to be in that situation in the first place.
Klinsmann’s next statement is even more infuriating: “In soccer, there is contact. It means you can’t play at 100%. For example, if you get fouled, it can hurt for five minutes, and it’s up to you to play through that pain. Lee Kang-in also limped today, but he played well in the second half. I could see how many players are dedicated to the team,” he said, adding that he couldn’t help it. There was no indication that he realized that an early substitution for Son Heung-min could have prevented this from happening in the first place.
If Klinsmann continues to manage the squad in this complacent manner, Kim Min-jae and Lee Kang-in could be injured at any time. Moreover, the next opponent is China, a country known for its ‘bad manners’. Hwang Seon-hong-ho severely injured his ankle in the last exhibition match against China when Uhm Won-sang was hit by a Chinese player’s unorthodox and dangerous play. I’m already worried that Klinsmann won’t be able to manage his key players again without any understanding of China.
Meanwhile, Son Heung-min said, “I’m fine now. I actually don’t like to lie down for a long time on the pitch. I felt a little numb in my foot. I can’t give up the game just because I’m sick. If I can’t play, I can’t help it, but as long as I can play, I will do my best for the team,” he reassured fans.
A big win for South Korea at home is, of course, a good thing. But why does Son Heung-min’s willingness to play through the pain sound so disturbing? Because Klinsmann doesn’t waste his players. This time it was Son Heung-min, but next time it could be Kim Min-jae or Lee Kang-in.