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Chile coach wary of Son Heung-min ahead of friendly vs. S. Korea

All News 16:52 June 05, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- When Eduardo Berizzo, new head coach for the Chilean men's national football team, looks at the squad list for South Korea, his next opponent, one name sticks out for him.

It's also the same name that many other opposing coaches will point to as the most dangerous South Korean player today: Son Heung-min, the reigning Golden Boot winner in the Premier League.

Eduardo Berizzo, head coach of the Chilean men's national football team, speaks at an online press conference at Lotte City Hotel Daejeon in Daejeon, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on June 5, 2022, the eve of a pre-World Cup friendly against South Korea, in this photo provided by the Korea Football Association. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Son Heung-min is the most impressive player from South Korea," Berizzo said through an interpreter at an online press conference Sunday, the eve of a friendly match against South Korea in Daejeon, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul. The third meeting between the two countries will kick off at 8 p.m. Monday at Daejeon World Cup Stadium.

"He is the face of the South Korean team. He is quite a dynamic player," the Argentine tactician added. "He is world class. He should be a force at the World Cup, too. He is an extremely dangerous player, because he can penetrate down the middle and also attack from wings just as well."

Gary Medel, Chilean captain with 145 caps, agreed with his coach that Son is someone to keep a close eye on but added he won't be out there trying to stop one player.

Gary Medel, captain of the Chilean men's national football team, speaks at an online press conference at Lotte City Hotel Daejeon in Daejeon, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on June 5, 2022, the eve of a pre-World Cup friendly against South Korea, in this photo provided by the Korea Football Association. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Rather than focus on individual players, we have to guard against the entire South Korean team," Medel said. "They are a well-organized team. We have to try to execute things we've worked in training and also try to take whatever lessons we need from this match."

On the current iteration of Chile's team, Medel is one of just seven players with more than 10 caps. Berizzo took the helm at the end of May, and he has brought a youthful team here as part of a rebuild. Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, two of Chile's most accomplished players, did not get called up for the trip.

"The key for us tomorrow is to help our young players develop and to figure what we can learn from the match," Berizzo said.

Medel added: "It's important to try to win the match and also try to unearth new faces."

Eduardo Berizzo (R), head coach of the Chilean men's national football team, and Gary Medel, his captain, attend an online press conference at Lotte City Hotel Daejeon in Daejeon, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on June 5, 2022, the eve of a pre-World Cup friendly against South Korea, in this photo provided by the Korea Football Association. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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