Son Heung-min scored a beauty from outside the box as Jurgen Klinsmann’s South Korea thumped Singapore 5-0 on Thursday to launch its 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign in style.
Victory will go a small way towards winning over South Korean fans yet to be convinced about Klinsmann, but there are tougher assignments ahead, starting with China away on Tuesday.
“A huge compliment to the team, a very professional performance,” the German legend, South Korean coach since February, said.
“Five-nil is a nice scoreline to read but it doesn’t really show you the energy and effort you have to invest in order to get to that score line,” Klinsmann added.
South Korea dominated possession at Seoul World Cup Stadium but they had nothing to show for it until Cho Gue-sung struck in the 44th minute.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lee Kang-in sent a curling cross into the box and FC Midtjylland forward Cho caught the visiting defenders napping to sneak in behind and slot the ball home.
Cho had struck the crossbar with a volley on 34 minutes, one of several opportunities that South Korea failed to convert in the opening half. The hosts also had a goal ruled out for offside.
Four minutes after the restart it was 2-0 when Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers headed home for his second goal in as many matches for his country.
After Singapore had a goal chalked off for offside, skipper and talisman Son made it three with a delicious left-footed curler from outside the box just after the hour.
Hwang Ui-jo of Norwich City scored a penalty to make it four and PSG’s Lee put the finishing touch on an easy victory with a left-footed strike on 85 minutes.
“We needed to have patience,” said Klinsmann.
“It’s very, very difficult to play teams like Singapore who basically come, first of all, to defend with two blocks of five, so pretty much 10 players in front of their goal.”
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