Korea, Singapore hope inside knowledge will make the difference

Kim Do-hoon, interim Korean national football team head coach / Yonhap

It has been said many times in this column that Korean football is never boring, but that does not make it any less true. World Cup qualification resumes on June 6 with a trip to Singapore.

Korea only needs a point to progress to the final round of qualification. There, 18 teams will be divided into three groups and fight it out for Asia’s automatic allocation of eight.

A point is well within the capabilities of even a Korean team that is ranked 23 in the world, 132 places above Singapore. In fact, not winning would be a big surprise. Losing would be a massive shock but would not cost the coach his job because the Reds do not currently have a proper coach.

Kim Do-hoon is in temporary charge as the Korea Football Association (KFA) has not been able to find a successor to Jurgen Klinsmann.

The German was fired in February after a chaotic Asian Cup campaign. Replaced by Hwang Sun-hong for the March qualifiers against Thailand, Hwang did not get the job full-time. That is because his Under-23 team failed to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in April after being eliminated by Indonesia — incidentally led by Shin Tae-yong.

In the meantime, the KFA has been trying to appoint a permanent foreign coach. Jesse Marsch, formerly boss of Leeds United in the English Premier League, refused the job, with the American taking over the Canadian national team instead.

Herve Renard, the Frenchman who has impressed in the past in charge of Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Ivory Coast looked to be a very solid 안전 candidate but has also slipped through the net. It has not been a good look and whoever comes in is going to know that he was not the first choice.

The focus is now on getting the job done against Singapore. Temporary coach Kim knows all about football in the Southeast Asian nation as he took Lion City Sailors to the Singapore Premier League title in 2021.

Over 40,000 tickets have been sold at the National Stadium, and it should be a fine atmosphere. Son Heung-min is a big draw in a place that loves the English Premier League, and while Kim Do-hoon knows about Singapore, the same is true the other way.

Song Ui-young was born in Incheon and moved to Singapore at the age of 17 and became a citizen of the country. He is now looking forward to taking on his original homeland.

“It’s very difficult to explain this feeling, to play against South Korea, where I was born … but I’m very happy and honored to play for Singapore. I’m going to do my best for Singapore,” the midfielder told Channel News Asia.

“Everybody says it’s very difficult to win against South Korea,” said Song. “Maybe maximum one point, but we don’t know in football what’s going to happen, right?” We’re preparing very hard and we’re going to put maximum effort into the game. We want Singapore fans to feel proud of Singapore football,” he added.

That is all Korean fans want too. There hasn’t been much to cheer about in 2024 but a place in the final round of qualification is within reach.

6 thoughts on “Korea, Singapore hope inside knowledge will make the difference

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *