Seoul: Son Heung-min has warned fans not to get too hung up on the result when South Korea host Brazil in a friendly on Thursday and says the important thing is that it helps the team in its preparations for the World Cup.
The 29-year-old forward has returned from a successful season with Tottenham Hotspur to captain his country in June friendlies against Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Egypt as they prepare for a 10th successive trip to the World Cup finals.
The ‘Taegeuk Warriors’ have lost five of their six meetings with Brazil over the years, however, and Son cautioned against unrealistic expectations.
“Obviously, our fans would want us to win and score a lot of goals, but things don’t always go the way we want them to,” Son told reporters at the team’s training camp, according to Yonhap news agency.
“I don’t think results in these matches are important. Even if we don’t play well, we should try to take as many lessons as possible. We should look towards the World Cup and try to build a perfect team for that tournament.”
That said, Son believes the South Koreans should be able to match the five-times World Cup winners at Seoul World Cup Stadium if they play to their full potential.
'Play our game'
“If we can all play up to our capabilities, then we can be competitive,” Son said. “We’ll have a lot of fans on hand, and we’ll try to show them everything we have. I hope we will all tackle this challenge head on, without being afraid,” he added. “We should go into the stadium believing we can play our game. That way, we’ll be able to identify things we’re supposed to do.”
The match will pitch Son against Brazilian forward Neymar and, such is the rise in the South Korean’s stock, some are billing it as a battle of equals.
Son gave that idea short shrift. “He is one of the best in the world and I am trying to get there,” Son said.