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(World Cup) Son Heung-min says huge loss to Brazil not due to lack of effort

송고시간2022-12-06 06:44

By Yoo Jee-ho

DOHA, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korean captain Son Heung-min defended his team's effort following a devastating loss to Brazil in the round of 16 in Qatar Monday night, saying their best just wasn't good enough against the top-ranked opponent.

South Korea fell to Brazil 4-1 to bow out of the FIFA World Cup at Stadium 974 in Doha. The Selecao scored all four of their goals in the first half, while substitute Paik Seung-ho had the lone South Korean marker in the second half.

"We did our best but it was an extremely difficult match," Son said in a televised interview. "But all the players here have battled proudly to get this far. There's no doubt in my mind about everyone's dedication and sacrifice.

Son Heung-min of South Korea encourages his teammates during their round of 16 match against Brazil at the FIFA World Cup at Stadium 974 in Doha on Dec. 5, 2022. (Yonhap)

Son Heung-min of South Korea encourages his teammates during their round of 16 match against Brazil at the FIFA World Cup at Stadium 974 in Doha on Dec. 5, 2022. (Yonhap)

"I can only apologize to our fans for not living up to their expectations," Son continued. "But I hope they all understand our situation. Everyone on the team did the best they could to prepare for this match."

Son played the entire tournament wearing a protective mask, after undergoing surgery to repair multiple fractures around his left eye. He sustained the injury in a collision with an opposing player on Nov. 1 and had surgery three days later. Son then played his first World Cup match in Qatar on Nov. 24.

Son failed to score in Qatar and join retired star Park Ji-sung as the only South Koreans to score in three consecutive World Cups. But he was an inspirational leader for the Taegeuk Warriors all along, even attempting headers at the risk of further injuries.

Son Heung-min of South Korea wipes sweat off his face during his team's round of 16 match against Brazil at the FIFA World Cup at Stadium 974 in Doha on Dec. 5, 2022. (Yonhap)

Son Heung-min of South Korea wipes sweat off his face during his team's round of 16 match against Brazil at the FIFA World Cup at Stadium 974 in Doha on Dec. 5, 2022. (Yonhap)

"I am okay. This is nothing compared to what my players have been going through," added Son, who played in the knockouts for the first time.

As for younger players who made their World Cup debuts in Qatar, Son said, "They have to be consistent and play with a sense of responsibility. I hope that this is not the end for them and that they can be even better going forward."

Son Heung-min of South Korea salutes the crowd after losing to Brazil 4-1 in the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup at Stadium 974 in Doha on Dec. 5, 2022. (Yonhap)

Son Heung-min of South Korea salutes the crowd after losing to Brazil 4-1 in the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup at Stadium 974 in Doha on Dec. 5, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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