Son Heung-min feels sorry for Vietnam following Asian Cup exit

By Lam Thoa   January 22, 2024 | 01:10 am PT
Son Heung-min feels sorry for Vietnam following Asian Cup exit
Son Heung-min waves to fans after South Korea's 2-2 draw against Jordan at the Asian Cup on Jan. 20, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
South Korean superstar Son Heung-min wished Vietnam luck and success next time after the team were eliminated from the Asian Cup early.

In the Asian Cup this year, Vietnam are in Group D while South Korea are in group E. If both teams had advanced, Vietnam and South Korea have a high chance to encounter in the round of 16.

Son and his teammates are interested and have followed the progress of teams in group D, including the clash between Vietnam and Indonesia in round two last Friday. Vietnam did not have a good start in this match and conceded a penalty in the first half, before waking up and creating many chances in the second half but they could not convert.

The 1-0 defeat, along with the 4-2 loss to Japan in the first round, eliminated Vietnam early, even though they still have a match left with Iraq.

After drawing 2-2 with Jordan at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday, Son said: "I watched Vietnam play against Indonesia. It's a pity that they didn't get a good result. But I was very emotional when I saw the players try their best for their country. Good luck to Vietnam next time."

The forward, who plays as captain for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, thanked Vietnamese fans for supporting him and the South Korea national team.

Son, 31, is considered the best Asian footballer in history. In the Premier League, he was the Golden Boot winner in the 2021-2022 season, becoming the first Asian player to do so.

This season he has scored 12 goals, only two behind Norwegian striker Erling Haaland of Man City. On the national team, Son has scored 43 goals, 16 away behind legend Cha Bum-kun.

Son has faced Vietnam many times. In the 2018 Asian Games semi-finals, he helped South Korea win 3-1 against Vietnam.

In mid-October 2023, he also played and scored when South Korea thrashed Vietnam 6-0 in a friendly. After that match, many Vietnamese players came to shake Son’s hands and expressed their happiness at meeting a football star that they usually only see on television. Do Hung Dung, Que Ngoc Hai and some members of the coaching staff even stood in front of the tunnel entrance to take photos with Son.

At the Asian Cup in Qatar this year, South Korea have not had a convincing tournament. After the 3-1 win against Bahrain, they struggled in the 2-2 draw against Jordan.

Son scored the opening goal from the penalty spot, but Jordan came back and scored two goals. Only thanks to an own goal in injury time did South Korea escape defeat.

"Everyone thought the match would be easy. But in reality, there is no easy match in the Asian Cup," Son said after the match.

"If you are not prepared, both physically and mentally, the opponent will hurt you. This match is a lesson for us, so we can move forward and be stronger."

South Korea are second in Group E with four points as Jordan, but behind on goal difference. In the final round this week, Son and his team will face Malaysia, who are already eliminated after two consecutive defeats.

South Korea has the fourth-best record in the Asian Cup with two titles, but the last time they won it was in 1960.

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