November 14, 2022 11:20
With just a week left before the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar, Korea's national football team manager Paulo Bento announced the final 26-man roster for the event on Saturday.
Injured national team captain and Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min is included in the roster despite his recent surgery to treat fractures around his left eye.
Not in the roster, Suwon Samsung Bluewings forward Oh Hyeon-gyu will travel to Qatar with the squad as an extra player. Bento said he will use Oh as a replacement in case Son's condition does not improve sufficiently to allow him to play.
The manager said he picked Oh, who has played only one match for Korea, because the 21-year-old is fast with great technical ability and physical strength. "I believe traveling to Qatar will be a great opportunity for me to become a better footballer. I will do my best to learn a lot there," Oh said.
Countries participating in the World Cup are allowed to replace players who are unable to compete due to injury or illness up to 24 hours before their first matches.
Whether Son will be able to take the field in the upcoming World Cup depends on his recovery from the injury.
Son visited Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday to encourage his teammates ahead of their home match against Leeds United. As it was only a week after his surgery, his left eye was still swollen.
Son will join the national squad in Qatar on Wednesday after receiving more rehabilitation treatment in London.
Lee Kang-in of RCD Mallorca is also included in the final roster. Bento said he selected Lee because he showed some improvement this season. The manager declined to provide details of how he plans to use Lee, saying it is unpredictable what is going to happen in the World Cup.
"I am happy because we achieved the goal of helping the team qualify for the World Cup. Now, it's time to be professional, be humble and enjoy the biggest competition," Bento said.
Korea is making a 10th consecutive World Cup appearance at the quadrennial event, which runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. Korea's first group-stage match is against Uruguay on Nov. 24.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com