'No easy games', South Korea to take World Cup qualifier against S'pore seriously: Son Heung Min

South Korea coach Jurgen Klinsmann shared similar sentiments.

Daniel Seow | November 16, 2023, 12:31 PM



Singapore faces South Korea in a second-round World Cup qualifier match on Nov. 16, with the Lions as the underdogs.

The South Korean team is ranked 26th in the world, with Singapore ranked 157.

Their manager, Jurgen Klinsmann has also called up a stacked roster of 23 players for the national team, with the likes of Son Heung Min of Tottenham Hotspur, Lee Kang In of Paris Saint-Germain, Kim Min Jae of Bayern Munich, along with Hwang Hee Chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Nevertheless, the South Korean team is not taking anything for granted.

'Lions have players that could hurt us': Son

South Korea's captain Son Heung Min said in a press conference on Nov. 15 (Wednesday) that they are taking the Singapore match "seriously", as the Lions have players that can cause some trouble to them, CNA reported.

“There's no easy game and we take the game tomorrow as (seriously) as any other game that we (will) ever play,” he said.

Son's last time in Singapore was in July this year, where he played the first half of a preseason friendly for his club Tottenham Hotspur against local side Lions City Sailors.

Though Spurs dominated the match, the Sailors scored first and held the Premier League side to 1-1 at the break. Son's team eventually trotted out 5-1 winners.

S'pore have only beat South Korea twice, last time in 1968

South Korea coach Klinsmann shared similar sentiments during a press conference on Nov. 13, and said that "he was taking teams like Singapore and China seriously as every team in the world can play", Yonhap News Agency reported.

This is despite the difference in rankings, and their head-to-head record: in 26 all-time meetings, South Korea have only lost to Singapore twice and drawn three times.

Singapore's last win came in 1968.

The last time the nations faced each other in a competitive tie in 1989, Korea won 3-0 home and away in the first round of the World Cup qualifiers.

The South Korean team recently secured two dominant wins in October after a start of five winless games under Klinsmann, who took the helm in February.

They broke the drought in Sept. 12 with a 1-0 win against Saudi Arabia before beating Tunisia 4-0 and Vietnam 6-0 in October.

2026 World Cup qualifier

Singapore beat Guam 3-1 over two legs to advance to the second round of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

The second round comprises 36 nations divided into nine groups of four.

Singapore's other opponents in Group C are Thailand (ranked 112th), and China (ranked 79th), themselves formidable teams.

The top two teams from each of those groups will move on to the third round, where they will be placed into three groups of six.

The top two teams from each group in Round 3 will get to participate in the 2026 World Cup, co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The third- and fourth-place teams from the three groups will get a chance to qualify through a fourth decider round.

Top image from @hm_son7 on Instagram / Football Association of Singapore on Facebook.