The injured South Korean football star Son Heung-min was named to the country's World Cup squad Saturday, as the football-crazed nation waits with bated breath to see if the beloved captain will be able to compete in Qatar.
Head coach Paulo Bento unveiled his 26-man roster in Seoul on Saturday, 12 days before South Korea's first Group H match against Uruguay in Qatar. South Korea will also play Ghana on Nov. 28 and then Portugal on Dec. 2.
Son underwent surgery on Nov. 4 after suffering multiple fractures around his left eye in a collision with an opposing player during a UEFA Champions League match. Son took to social media Wednesday to declare he will be prepared to play at the World Cup wearing a protective mask if that's what it takes.
Bento himself had confirmed Thursday, the day before South Korea's final tuneup against Iceland, that he would select Son, making Saturday's announcement a mere formality. Bento also said then that the national team would do its best to help Son get ready for the big tournament.
South Korea beat Iceland 1-0 Friday with players from leagues in South Korea, China, Japan and the Middle East. The coaching staff and those named to the World Cup squad from Friday's match will travel to Qatar early Monday. Players based in European leagues will join the national team in Qatar next week.
South Korea will be playing in their 10th consecutive World Cup. They have been to the knockouts twice previously: the semifinals in 2002, when South Korea co-hosted the tournament with Japan, and the round of 16 in 2010 in South Africa. (Yonhap)
Soccer Football - Champions League - Group D - Olympique de Marseille v Tottenham Hotspur - Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France - November 1, 2022 Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min receives medical attention after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Eric Gaillard