Captain Sonny stands up for himself, S. Korean fans after being booed by Chinese supporters


By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) — When boos rained down on him from a small but loud section of Chinese supporters during a World Cup qualifying match in Seoul on Tuesday night, South Korean captain Son Heung-min didn’t understand what he had done wrong. He didn’t think he deserved to be jeered, not in front his own fans at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Son Heung-min of South Korea reacts to booing by Chinese fans during the teams' Group C match in the second round of the Asian World Cup qualification at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on June 11, 2024. (Yonhap)

Son Heung-min of South Korea reacts to booing by Chinese fans during the teams’ Group C match in the second round of the Asian World Cup qualification at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on June 11, 2024. (Yonhap)

Son maintained his composure and held up three fingers on his right hand and formed a circle with his left.

That was Son’s reminder to those Chinese fans: Hey, we beat your team 3-0 the last time.

And South Korea prevailed once again Tuesday, by the score of 1-0, to close out the second round in the Asian qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in front of 64,935 fans. Hundreds of Chinese fans, decked out in red or black shirts, took up one end of the stands, behind the Chinese goal during the first half.

Boos or not, the result is all that mattered in the end, Son said.

“I didn’t think I had done anything to warrant booing, and I could not accept that while playing on our home pitch,” Son said during his postmatch press conference. “I think it was also disrespectful toward our fans. So I wanted to show something to the Chinese fans and remind them we won by 3-0 before. But the most important thing is we played a solid match and came away with the victory.”

Son Heung-min of South Korea encourages fans to make noise during a Group C match in the second round of the Asian World Cup qualification against China at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on June 11, 2024. (Yonhap)

Son Heung-min of South Korea encourages fans to make noise during a Group C match in the second round of the Asian World Cup qualification against China at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on June 11, 2024. (Yonhap)

Son, a veteran of 127 international matches, shrugged off booing as “something that can happen in football from time to time.”

“It’s important not to get caught up in that moment,” Son said. “I think I responded well, without losing my composure.”

Throughout the match, Son was more demonstrative than usual. Before taking corners, he waved his arms up and down to call on fans to make more noise.

And Son did his part on the field, too, setting up the match’s lone goal, scored by midfielder Lee Kang-in, and being named the Man of the Match by the Asian Football Confederation.

“It was not an easy match but we were able to keep China from creating any dangerous chances,” Son said. “There’s no such thing as a perfect match, but we stayed patient and capitalized on our chance to win. Obviously, we could have won by a bigger margin, but overall, everyone did a great job.”

Son Heung-min of South Korea (R) dribbles the ball against China during the teams' Group C match in the second round of the Asian World Cup qualification at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on June 11, 2024. (Yonhap)

Son Heung-min of South Korea (R) dribbles the ball against China during the teams’ Group C match in the second round of the Asian World Cup qualification at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul on June 11, 2024. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4  ×  two  =