AL RAYYAN, Qata– The upcoming FIFA World Cup showdown between Ghana and South Korea will be a reunion between Ghana head coach Otto Addo and South Korean captain Son Heung-min.
Addo coached Son at Hamburger SV’s youth academy when the South Korean star was just a teenager in 2009. Son has since evolved into one of the world’s top players, with the Premier League Golden Boot in tow, and he will now try to captain South Korea past Ghana in their Group H match Monday.
At his official prematch press conference Sunday, Addo said he’d be happy to see Son do well, as long as he doesn’t inflict damage on Ghana.
“I always wish him all the best, except tomorrow,” Addo said at the Main Media Centre in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha. “I am happy he’s healthy again (after suffering facial fractures). We will try to stop him as a team. It’s always about closing gaps as a team.”
Addo said he predicted good things for Son down the road while he was a teenager and recommended him to Hamburger’s first squad because of that bright future.
“Son is a very, very good player operating between the lines, and he has a very good shot,” Son said. “He has very good characters. He’s very, very disciplined. He became so good because he worked hard for it.”
While South Korea held Uruguay to a 0-0 draw Thursday to start their World Cup journey, Ghana lost to Portugal 3-2 the same day. All five goals were scored in the final 30 minutes of the match, with Ghana’s defense being exposed after a tightly-played first half.
Addo refused to go into details about his plans against South Korea but said his players took valuable lessons from the opening loss.
“I am happy to have a team which is willing to learn and work hard every day to get better,” he said. “We have a lot of respect for South Korea, but we know we can compete with them.”
Portugal sit atop Group H, but the three other teams will also be battling for spots in the knockouts. Addo sees a wide-open group with some dogfights on the horizon.
“Anything is possible. It’s an equal group,” he said. “There might be some surprises.”
Source: Yonhap News Agency