The South Korean national soccer team (ranked 27th in FIFA), led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, will take on Peru (ranked 21st in FIFA) in the June A match of the Hana Bank Invitational National Team Friendly. Klinsmann’s men will face Peru (ranked 21st in FIFA) on June 16 at 8 p.m. at the Busan Asiad Stadium. They will face El Salvador (ranked 75th in FIFA) in the second match on June 20 at 8 p.m. at Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
Ahead of the matches, Klinsmann convened the players at Gudeok Sports Complex in Busan on Dec. 12. On the first day of training, the players were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of European players and the second group consisted of players who played in the K League last weekend. The European players practiced tactical drills to prepare for the upcoming match against Peru.
On the other hand, the players who had played in the K League focused on recovery training, and Son Heung-min joined them. After the season ended, Heung-min returned home to South Korea. It was about two weeks before he had to focus on recovery training. However, he only did some light warm-ups with the recovery group.
There was a reason he was training with them. It was the aftermath of his sports hernia surgery. “Heung-min had a sports hernia surgery,” an official from the 메이저놀이터 Korea Football Association said on the morning of the training session. In terms of timing, it’s been two weeks, and he’s recovering.”
Sports hernias are common in athletes who play sports with their backs bent, such as soccer, hockey, and tennis. They are caused by overuse and repetitive movements. Frank Lampard, Alan Shearer, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kim Nam-il, and Lee Yong-il have all suffered from sports hernias in the past.
It’s an injury that requires a lot of rest. However, two weeks after his surgery, Son Heung-min has been training normally. He has a strong will to play. An official from the Korea Football Association said, “He”s showing a strong will. It has already been more than two weeks since the surgery, but recovery varies depending on the person.”
Son Heung-min has already risked his body for the national team before. He suffered an orbital fracture before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He was so determined to play in the World Cup that he underwent surgery.
At the time, Heung-min said, “Playing for my country at the World Cup is something that many kids dream of when they grow up as soccer players, and I still have that dream to this day. If there is only a 1% chance, I will see that possibility and run with only a short time ahead of me to become a World Cup representative of my beautiful country,” he said.
In the end, Son put the national team ahead of his own body. He suffered an orbital fracture, which could have caused problems with his eyes and vision if the injury worsened. However, Heung-min recovered quickly and eventually started the first group game against Uruguay.
However, the upcoming match against Peru will be very different. It’s not that the World Cup and friendlies carry different weight. It’s a friendly ahead of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar, so it’s an important match for the players and Klinsmann. However, Son is coming off a sports hernia surgery, which means it’s not a game he can afford to miss.
Of course, if Heung-min wants to play, there’s no stopping him. He knows his body best. Heung-min will decide whether to play or not after communicating with Klinsmann.