South Korea men’s national soccer team captain Son Heung-min (32-Tottenham) is following in the footsteps of Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) by taking a step closer to winning the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar. Messi added to his trophy cabinet at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as captain of the Argentine national team, fulfilling one of the last remaining chapters in his soccer career. It will be interesting to see if Son Heung-min, who has yet to lift a major trophy at club or national level despite his numerous individual titles, can follow in Messi’s footsteps and fulfill his final wish in Qatar.

South Korea came from behind to win 2-1 against Australia in the quarterfinals on March 3, thanks to a one-man show from Son Heung-min. Son Heung-min scored a penalty kick (PK) in second-half stoppage time after trailing 0-1, and then sealed the 2-1 win with a picturesque free-kick goal in extra time. He started every game of the tournament, including the round of 16 against Saudi Arabia, which went to penalties in 120 minutes of extra time. Despite being at full strength, he was determined to win.

Son Heung-min is considered one of the best players in the world, let alone Asia. He became the first Asian player to win the 2021-2022 English Premier League (EPL) top scorer and is a four-time EPL Player of the Month. He has also won several individual awards, including Tottenham’s Club Player of the Year and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) International Player of the Year.

Despite his numerous individual titles, he was unable to lift a major trophy. Between club and national team, he finished runner-up four times. He was runner-up at the AFC Championship with the U-16s in 2008 and runner-up at the AFC Asian Cup in 2015 with the senior national team, while with Tottenham he was runner-up in the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League and runner-up in the 2020-21 Carabao Cup.

His only previous trophy was at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang. While it’s not a major tournament organized by FIFA, AFC, etc., he should take solace in the fact that the gold medal will allow him to continue his career in Europe while receiving military service benefits.

For Son Heung-min, the Asian Cup is a golden opportunity to win a title. Japan, a heavy favorite to win the tournament, fell in the quarterfinals, and the team’s morale is high after beating Australia, the 2015 tournament 메이저사이트 runners-up.

Son Heung-min’s form is also peaking. He had scored 12 goals in 20 games in the EPL prior to the tournament, and his goal-scoring form was on fire. In the group stage, the South Korean captain focused on creating chances for his teammates, but as we saw in Australia, he’s starting to develop his finishing instincts. As the tournament progresses to the higher rounds, it comes down to star players. Son’s finishing ability is one of the best in the world, and his decisiveness is expected to shine through in close games.

As captain, he will be looking to set the tone off the field as well. When the level of criticism directed at striker Cho Kyu-sung (Mitwillan) and left fullback Lee Ki-je (Suwon) became too much, he pleaded with them to protect their players. In his post-match press conference against Australia, Son also asked that the spotlight be shifted to the players who were unable to play, but still dedicated themselves to the team. With his skill and leadership, Son Heung-min will lead South Korea to its first Asian Cup title in 64 years, and the team will have to wait only for the quarterfinal match against Jordan on July 7 at 0:00.


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