The Korea Soccer Affiliation confirmed over the weekend that midfielder Hwang Hee-chan continues to be fighting discomfort in his hamstring. With Son Heung-min nonetheless recovering from surgical procedure, neither of Korea’s high two forwards are in peak situation simply 4 days earlier than the Taeguk Warriors play their first recreation of the World Cup.
Hwang’s hamstring has been a priority since Nov. 12, when he did not even get a spot on the bench in Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 loss to Arsenal, the membership’s final recreation earlier than the worldwide break.
Stories after the sport instructed he was out on account of hamstring discomfort, a phrase that has been repeated by the Korean camp during the last 10 days with repeated reassurances that discomfort doesn’t suggest an harm.
That recreation towards Arsenal got here just some days after Hwang had performed the complete 90 minutes in a Carabao Cup recreation towards Leeds United, marking his first full match to date this season. He didn’t present any vital indicators of discomfort throughout that fixture, however might have overextended himself with a far longer outing than he has been used to.
Hwang has been struggling in entrance of purpose with Wolves, failing to attain since Feb. 24, an enormous dry spell that now encompasses 26 appearances.
However for the nationwide crew, it is a very totally different story. Hwang Hee-chan is a Taeguk Warriors common, showing in nearly each recreation as both a starter or a recent pair of legs within the second half.
He has made 4 appearances for Korea this 12 months, showing for no less than 60 minutes in each recreation he was accessible for and scoring two objectives; towards Chile on June 6 and Costa Rica on Sept. 23.
However whereas Hwang’s ongoing “discomfort” provides little indication of his enjoying situation, talismanic captain Son is certainly coping with a much more substantial harm.
Son underwent surgical procedure earlier this month on one or a number of orbital fractures after his eye socket was fractured throughout a collision within the twenty ninth minute of a Champions League recreation between Tottenham Hotspur and Marseille at Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France on Nov. 1.
He is been again in coaching for the final week sporting a big black carbon-fiber masks — a glance that has already earned him the nickname Captain Zorro within the Korean press — however it stays unclear how match he shall be to play when Korea tackle Uruguay on Thursday.
Talking to reporters final week, Son made it clear that whereas he feels OK operating and coaching, he is not a health care provider and he has no thought what his restoration goes to seem like.
“I am not a health care provider,” Son mentioned on Nov. 16. “I might be the primary one to replace you on my state of affairs if I knew something. What I can let you know proper now’s that I’ll at all times do my greatest and that each one footballers in each match play with some form of threat.”
Whereas Son’s health has remained a query, the person himself says he completely intends to play on the World Cup, even when it may very well be dangerous to take action.
Query marks over each Son and Hwang Hee-chan’s health go away head coach Paulo Bento in a difficult place. The pair are two of Korea’s most skilled and versatile midfielders, and with severe doubts about common ahead Hwang Ui-jo’s efficiency as nicely, Bento is left with more and more few choices.
Whereas Jung Woo-young is the most-capped midfielder after Son, he has his personal function to play in entrance of the protection and may do little or no to fill the footwear of both attacker. Lee Jae-sung is one other veteran with a lot to supply, however in recent times he has been extra of a playmaker than a purpose scorer.
Kwon Chang-hoon and Hwang In-beom are each pretty dependable choices, though Kwon has been pretty inconsistent just lately and Hwang In-beom additionally tends to fall right into a playmaking function.
As an alternative, Bento might must dig a bit of deeper and depend on a few of the much less skilled Taeguk Warriors. Cho Gue-sung, Paik Seung-ho, Music Min-kyu and Jeong Woo-yeong have all performed nicely up to now, and Lee Kang-in’s membership efficiency suggests he has much more to supply than he is be given an opportunity for up to now.
Bento has 4 extra days of coaching earlier than he has to make that tough alternative. Korea face Uruguay at Schooling Metropolis Stadium in Doha, Qatar at 4 pm on Thursday, or at 10 pm in Korea.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]