South Korean Son’s cry of despair; may have to miss 2 years of football

Even though ‘Spurs forward Son Heung-min scored a breath-taking goal against Mexico, South Korea all but bowed out of World Cup. The star footballer may now have to take up compulsory miltary service

Photo courtesy: Social media
Photo courtesy: Social media

Vikrant Jha

When South Korea lost to Mexico in their second group game on Saturday, June 23, the entire South Korean squad was sad. But the saddest of all was Son Heung-min, the Tottenhum Hotspurs forward who is the highest scoring Asian player in the English Premier League’s history. In fact, a photo of him crying (see lead picture above) has gone viral, as people share their sympathies with the record-breaking Spurs star.

“Son has endeared himself to the Spurs faithful with some fantastic goal-scoring displays since signing from Bayer Leverkusen in August, 2015,” says the Spurs official website. But after losing to Mexico 2-1, the South Koreans are all but out of the tournament, having lost their opening encounter against Sweden to a solitary goal. Now, the Asian superstar may have to miss out on his Premier League career due to some strict laws prevailing in South Korea.

The South Korean laws make it mandatory for all male adults to serve at least two years in the military. Exceptions are given to athletes who bring laurels to the country at the highest levels, like the FIFA World Cup, the Olympics and the Asian games. In the football World Cup, the team has to at least qualify for the quarter finals

With the FIFA World Cup knockout stages now all but out of sight for the Koreans, Son’s only option left is if and when he gets a chance to represent South Korea at the Asian Championship to be held from August 18 to September 2. It’s at age 26 when most South Koreans fulfill their military duties. Son will turn 26 on July 8 this year. So, with World Cup too big an ask, a failure to win the Asian game will make it inevitable for Son to serve his two years in the military, away from football. This has the potential to end his Premier League career.

All is not done and dusted for Son in this World Cup as well, but it sure is a big task for the Korean star to lead his team to victory against Germany and then hope for Mexico to defeat Sweden. The chances are bleak, to say the least.

In the 2018 World Cup currently underway in Russia, Korea’s only goal has come from Son in the match against Mexico. The marvelous curler from 25 yards outside the goal, which defeated eight defending Mexicans and flew into the net, brought headlines such as, ‘Korea hasn’t scored a goal, Son Heung-min has'.

Watch: Son Heung-min scores a screamer against Mexico

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