Injuries Cast Dark Cloud Ahead of Crucial World Cup Qualifiers

  • By Lee Tae-dong

    July 05, 2017 11:18

    Injuries are wreaking havoc on the national football team ahead of the two remaining matches in the final round of the Asian qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    The trouble comes amid a change of the team’s coach after Uli Stielike was sacked last month after a shocking defeat to Qatar. The Korea Football Association on Tuesday named Shin Tae-yong, a former U-20 team coach, as the new head coach, replacing Stielike.

    Ki Sung-yueng

    The captain of the team, Ki Sung-yueng of Swansea City, recently underwent a knee operation and is likely to miss the matches against Iran on Aug. 31 and Uzbekistan on Sept. 5.

    Swansea said on the club's website on Monday that Ki "is set to miss the start of the new Premier League season with a knee injury," which he sustained in the qualifier against Qatar.

    Ki has been praised not only for his steady performances as a defensive midfielder but also as a great adviser to team members especially during hard times.

    Son Heung-min was also injured during the Qatar match, while Koo Ja-cheol of Augsburg in Germany's Bundesliga is still recovering from an ankle injury sustained during a club match in April.

    Korea is currently in second place in its group with 4 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses, only 1 point ahead of Uzbekistan. Iran, which tops the group, has already secured a berth to Russia.

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