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Son Heung-min Apologizes To South Korean Fans Following Asia Cup Semi-Final Loss To Jordan

Teo Choi

Son Heung-min is seen stunned after the semi-final loss to Jordan. 


Following the South Korean football team’s loss to Jordan 2-0 in the semi-final of the AFC Asian Cup, their captain, Son Heung-min, publicly apologized to the fans of South Korea. Going into the tournament, the Korean team, or the Taeguk Warriors, seemed like sure-fire contenders to win it all. Having last won the tournament in 1960, they aimed to win their first championship in 64 years.  


Hopes were high for the Warriors as 50 million Korean fans watched at home, hoping to finally secure the championship. The Korean Football Association (KFA) had hired a new manager, Jurgen Klinsmann. The German was a football legend, winning World Cups for Germany, and had previously managed the United States national team and the German national team. Their squad was also quite impeccable, headed by their four superstars: captain and forward Son Heung-min of the Tottenham Hotspurs, wingers Hwang Hee-chan and Lee Kang-in of the Wolverhampton Wanderers and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) respectively, and defender Kim Min-jae of Bayern Munich.  


Their first round was more of a challenge than expected. They were projected to come out of the group as the number one seed. However, two ties to Malaysia and Jordan gave them the second seed. In the round of 16, they beat the Saudi Arabian team in penalties, and in the round of 8, won against Australia in extra time. As such, their progress through the tournament had been quite shaky. They couldn’t keep up with this, and the team ultimately imploded in the semi-final match against Jordan.  


After their loss to Jordan, Son did not seem to be able to comprehend their loss. This was his fourth Asian Cup, and the tournament win had eluded him once again. Their match had been ridiculously bad, having shot zero shots on target throughout the whole game. Immediately after the team’s elimination, the pointing game began between the fans. Most agreed their loss was the fault of KFA and manager Klinsmann. To the fans, Klinsmann had no strategy whatsoever and dubbed him a “movie director” because of the way he laid back and saw the game as an outsider.  


However, Son had a different stance. In an interview after the game, he began by apologizing to the fans. “I am terribly sorry that we did not live up to their expectations,” Son said. He also said that the players had tried their hardest from start to end to win the game for Korea. He additionally said “If anyone should be blamed for our loss, it should be me and how I lacked the ability to lead this squad.” Throughout the interview, he consistently apologized to the fans and to the team and took all responsibility. “I will try to get better as a player and also help our national team take the next step,” he added. In questions regarding the future of the team and Klinsmann, he said that he believes the German manager “will be hardened by this experience” and that he “will build an even better squad.”  


In true captain fashion, he took all responsibility for the loss and articulated great remorse for the result the Taeguk Warriors produced. He defended Klinsmann throughout the tournament, saying that he is in a position where receiving criticism is obvious, but one cannot undermine his efforts and wholehearted passion for the team. He thanked his teammates, wishing them a great experience and hope for future tournaments. Throughout the tournament, Son showed absolute class as a captain, sportsman, and representative of Asian football. Fans showed gratitude for their captain and praised him throughout. As Son and the Taeguk Warriors prepare for the next World Cup in 2026, there are matters at hand that must be addressed. Despite these tribulations, it will be intriguing to see the direction Korea’s football team goes and how they will learn from this Asian Cup.

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