Wednesday 20 June 2018, 15:24

Son desperate to end goal drought

  • ​Son talks about disappointment following Sweden defeat

  • Tottenham Hotspur forward speaks of his desire to lead by example

  • Next match v Mexico: Follow our Live Blog

By Hounche Chung with Korea Republic

With the 1-0 defeat by Sweden in their Group F opener, Korea Republic have failed to win in four matches since their send-off party was spoiled by Bosnia and Herzegovina earlier this month. Notably, they have now failed to score in their last three games.

Their coach Shin Taeyong had opted for a relatively attack-minded approach against Sweden, with striker Kim Shinwook flanked by Hwang Heechan and Son Heungmin in a 4-3-3 formation. But despite taking control in the early stage of the game, the Taeguk Warriors ultimately failed to find the net once again.

“We had prepared for the Sweden game for a long time. It was such an important match for us because it was our group opener, but the result was not exactly what we wanted,” Son told FIFA in an exclusive interview.

“I’d have to admit that the atmosphere in the camp is not so good at the moment. Nevertheless, we’ve still got two games to play and we should prepare well with a positive attitude.”

Whilst his team-mates are trying to leave the disappointment behind them and prepare for the next matches in their base camp on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg, the Tottenham Hotspur star still remains strict with himself.

“Obviously, I’m responsible for not being able to score a goal, because I’m one of the goalscorers in this team. I have to lead by example: I need to perform better in order to help the lads build up the confidence. If the team could not work well, I think that’s because I didn’t do my best in my role.”

Sweden v Korea Republic - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

Meanwhile, Korea Republic have to deal with another blow, as defender Park Jooho has been ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained during the game in Nizhny Novgorod. It was all the more difficult for Son, who has been to Brazil 2014 along with the versatile Ulsan Hyundai fullback.

“Jooho is one of my favourite team-mates and it’s really difficult for me to see him go down like this,” Son said. “He’s an important part of our team as an experienced veteran, so it’s a huge loss for the rest of us. Although he cannot play anymore, I believe he will continue to be our biggest supporter off the pitch.”

Now the Taeguk Warriors need all the support from on and off the pitch, if they are to stand a chance to progress beyond the group stage. “I think the Korean fans back home must have been very disappointed with our performance. So it’s very important for us to bounce back and change the atmosphere,” insisted Son, whose mind is already set on the next opponent.

“We’re all under pressure at the moment because Mexico are a very good side that even beat Germany in their opener. Needless to say, this is a crucial game for us now.”