World Cup 2018: Son Heung-min apologises to South Korea teammates for Sweden defeat

South Korea struggled to test Sweden’s defence and failed to register a shot on target, something Son is taking sole responsibility for

Jack Watson
Monday 18 June 2018 18:47
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World Cup Opening Ceremony

Son Heung-min has apologised to his teammates for South Korea’s 1-0 defeat against Sweden in their opening World Cup group G match, saying the loss is “his fault”.

Andreas Granqvist scored the game’s only goal when a VAR review awarded Sweden a 65th minute penalty after the referee missed Kim Min-woo’s foul on Viktor Claesson. South Korea struggled to test Sweden’s defence and failed to register a shot on target, something Son is taking sole responsibility for.

“I’m still disappointed about my performance and feel very, very sorry for my teammates because if we don’t score, it’s my fault, because I need to take the responsibility,” Son said.

The forward was pushed on whether his responsibility in the team is heightened given the lack of attacking options, and compared his roles with Tottenham and the national side.

“Of course it is a bit different, because when I play at Tottenham, every player is one of the best players,” said the 25 year old. “Sometimes, when I play for South Korea, I need to give the pass to the other players and sometimes, it is a bit different than Tottenham.”

South Korea’s manager, Shin Tae-yong, had previously called for the team to share the burden of scoring ahead of the World Cup. “Rather than having one player stand out, everyone needs to play together,” he said. “We’re trying to implement the formation that Tottenham use.”

Sweden won a penalty after a VAR decision

After the game Shin was critical of his attacking players and admits Sweden’s goalkeeper, Robin Olsen, “probably became bored”.

“I think…we became too subdued,” he said. “We really wanted to win this game. That was the attitude of the players coming into the match.”

Group G is very open after Mexico’s shock 1-0 victory against reigning champions Germany, meaning South Korea’s defeat leaves any bleak chances of qualifying from their group in tatters.

“Mexico against Germany were very fast and skilled. A very good, tough team,” said Shin of his next opponents. “They will be a formidable opponent. We’ll analyse the game against Germany and try to find a way to deal with the Mexico team.”

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