Friday, July 19, 2024

S. Korea eyeing Asian Cup after World Cup qualifier win over China

South Korea has set a target to win next year’s Asian Cup after beating China 3-0 in Group C of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian Zone qualifying tournament second stage here on Tuesday.

“It’s important that we just continue to work hard and hopefully we can bring the Asian Cup trophy back home,” South Korea defender Kim Min-jae said after the match.

South Korea head coach Jurgen Klinsmann also expressed his determination to win the Asian Cup, Xinhua reports.

“We have a lot of talents, we have a lot of quality players. To qualify for the World Cup is a marathon, our goal is to win this game, and then we will try to win the Asian Cup,” Klinsmann said.

South Korea is perennially among the favorites for the Asian Cup, which will begin in January 2024 in Qatar. The team has not conceded a goal in six consecutive games.

“We got the result we want and we didn’t concede any goals, this is very important for us,” Kim said.

South Korea captain Son Heung-min played a full 90 minutes, scoring a brace and setting up another for his team’s win in Shenzhen. The 31-year-old said there would be no easy games at the Asian Cup.

“The Asian Cup is going to be really difficult because there will be always some favorite teams, and all Asian teams want to win the tournament. You have to put so much effort from every player and from the fans,” he emphasized.

Discussing the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Son said: “We definitely want to be there. And then obviously, we have difficult games ahead. As I always say, we want to stay humble, we want to stay [grounded] and do our best.”

Midfielder Lee Kang-in, who assisted Son’s second goal through a corner, noted that teamwork would be key in the upcoming matches.

“We have to stick together as a team, not just the players, but the coaching staff as well. And everyone needs to be fully behind each other to pick up as many points as possible until the last game,” Lee said.

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