The South Korean national football team, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, cruised to a 5-0 victory over Singapore in the first match of Group C of the second Asian qualifying round for the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
It was Klinsmann’s third consecutive multi-goal game, scoring four or more goals against Tunisia and Vietnam in October. After struggling for a while despite Klinsmann’s call for attacking soccer, the Klinsmanns carried the firepower they showed in the two October friendlies into the real world of World Cup qualifying.
The game was one-sided. South Korea drew their line high and began their attacking work from high up the pitch. Hwang In-beom, playing in a three-man midfield, was the focal point of the buildup between the two center backs, while Lee Jae-sung and Son Heung-min moved more freely to exploit the space between the defenses. On the flanks, Hwang Hee-chan and Lee Kang-in worked to open up the defense with their long runs. Up front, Cho Kyu-sung tried to create chances through aggressive defensive contests with his opponents.
However, Singapore’s goal remained firmly closed. Singapore maintained a low defense line and tight spacing, leaving no space for the Korean players. Even in one-on-one situations, they were not pushed around. In fact, it was the Koreans who grew nervous when the goal didn’t come.
Luckily, South Korea’s first goal came just before the end of the first half, as Cho Kyu-sung, who had a goal disallowed midway through the first half due to an offside call, made up for it with a goal just before halftime. Cho rattled the net with a calm finish in a one-on-one situation after receiving a precise cross from Lee Kang-in.
The second half goal came early. Early in the second half, Lee Kang-in created space with a dribbling break, and when he was tripped up by the opposing defense, Cho Kyu-sung picked up the loose ball and sent a cross into the box. Hwang Hee-chan connected with a header for the second goal.
It was a Korean goal party after that. Captain Son Heung-min scored his team’s third goal with a sharp left-footed curler from the ‘Son Heung-min zone’ outside the box, and then substitute Hwang Eui-jo converted a penalty kick earned by Seol Young-woo to drive a wedge into the game. Later in the game, Lee Kang-in capped the scoring with a powerful mid-range shot from outside the box. The game ended with a 5-0 victory for South Korea.
After the game, Kim Min-jae met with the media. Kim Min-jae started the game and played the full time, showing his solid buildup and defense at the back. One of the reasons the team was able to attack from high up the pitch was due to Kim’s solid defense on the counterattack.
“I think it’s important to note that we won and that we won with a clean sheet, so both the offense and defense were good,” said Kim, who began the interview with a brief recap of the game.
He also shared his thoughts on the controversy surrounding his abuse. Kim has been criticized for playing too many minutes at Napoli and now at Bayern Munich. He pointed out that the constant injuries to his defensive partners, Dani Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt, have increased the physical demands on him, and the fact that he has to travel back and forth between Europe and Asia to play for his national team has added to the concerns.
When asked about his playing time at the A-Match in October, Kim said that it was better to play and suffer than not to play and suffer. We got a glimpse of Kim’s thoughts on the matter, as he said that it’s better to be under physical strain than to be under mental strain.
This time, the answers were similar. “I think it’s better to play than not play, and I think it’s important to manage it well by thinking about how to maintain my concentration without breaking it,” he said, with a similar nuance as in October.레모나토토 주소
He was also asked about his difficult first half. Kim Min-jae, who focused on defense from the back and watched his teammates attack, had faith in his teammates’ abilities.
“No matter what team you’re playing, it’s hard to play defense with ten people down like that. I wasn’t too worried. I wasn’t worried because the forwards are good players. I was thinking that if we defend well from the back, we will score one or two goals,” he said, adding that he thought his teammates would be able to create goals if he focused on defending from the back.
Klinsmann must now prepare for the trip to China. South Korea will take on China on Nov. 21 at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China, in the second Group C match of the second Asian qualifying round. China is coming off a 2-1 win against Thailand on the 16th.
One area of concern is China’s rough play. The Chinese are known for playing very rough. Players can get injured in the process, and the lack of a VAR can lead to unfair calls on fouls. What did Kim Min-jae think of China’s rough play?
He believes that if China can play rough, Korea can play rough. He said, “Singapore was rough enough. If we go to China and don’t play the same way, I think we will be beaten. I think it will be okay if we play tough on defense first,” he said, pointing out that they should respond according to the opponent’s play.
Kim Min-jae, who previously played for Beijing Guoan in the Chinese League, is now playing for the Chinese national team. When asked about this, Kim Min-jae said, “The players I played with are now playing for the national team, so I can tell you about them,” but then added, “I don’t know exactly about the other players.”
There were also questions about his performance. When asked if his friendship with Jung Seung-hyun helps him breathe, Kim said, “It does. But when I played with other players, I also played well. I try to do the same no matter who I play with. I think we worked well together,” he said, adding that he also worked well when playing with Jung Seung-hyun and other players.