Korean Footballers Getting Ready for World Cup Qualifiers

  • By Yun Dong-been

    October 08, 2019 09:59

    Footballers gathered for training in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, ahead of their upcoming second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

    South Korea will play a match against Sri Lanka in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province later this week and North Korea in Pyongyang next week.

    The pitch at Kim Il-sung Stadium, where the match in Pyongyang will take place, is made of artificial turf -- a surface that is unfamiliar to most professional footballers, who usually play on natural grass fields. Artificial turf also carries a relatively high risk of injury, as it is harder than grass.

    Footballers train at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Monday.

    "I haven't played on artificial turf since I was on the youth team of Hamburger SV," said captain Son Heung-min. "But when will I ever have a chance to play there again? I want to make it memorable."

    Also included in the roster for South Korea is Nam Tae-hee of Qatari side Al-Sadd, who is set to make a return about a year after missing the Asian Cup last year due to an injury. "I'm happy to join the national team again earlier than I expected," Nam said. "I eagerly hope that Korea will make it to the World Cup in Qatar, and if that happens, I will never miss another opportunity."

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