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Son Heung Min Keeps Cool as Chinese Fans Get Heated

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Chinese online users have responded with discriminatory criticism towards Son Heung Min, the captain of the South Korean national soccer team.

South Korea faced China at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in the 6th match of Group C in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian second-round qualifiers on June 11. South Korea defeated China 1-0, securing its place in the third-round qualifiers and first place in the group. The first and winning goal was netted by Lee Kang In.

South Korea’s national team was led by three interim coaches throughout the second-round qualifiers while maintaining stable performance. After Coach Klinsmann’s term ended, Coach Hwang Sun Hong successfully led the team with one victory and one draw. Coach Kim Do Hoon also followed with two more victories, boosting the team’s confidence. Nonetheless, Kim emphasized the need for a new permanent coach saying, “I hope I am the last interim coach.”

This game proved the South Korean team’s strategic superiority throughout the game. South Korea used various tactics to break China’s defense from early on in the games. With support from Son’s savvy long pass, Lee was able to score a winning goal.

Son continued to break through China’s dense defense during the match, earning him the MVP title from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

During the post-match press conference, Son emphasized the team’s achievements, saying, “[Despite all the hate comments] It was important to stay focused and to be calm.” He praised his teammates, stating, “My teammates created good opportunities through their calm composure.” He added, “There is no such thing as a perfect game, but it is important to stay focused in crucial moments like today and produce viable results.”

The Chinese team was greatly shocked by this defeat. Throughout the match, the Chinese team failed to properly respond to South Korea’s aggressive and well-organized play. South Korea’s quick transition and accurate pass work made it even harder to respond.

A Chinese media outlet reported, “We only had a 30% possession rate throughout the game and we eventually allowed a decisive goal to Lee Kang In.” It was evident that Chinese fans were disappointed by the result. Some said, “Considering the flow of the game, it’s rather fortunate that we lost 0-1,” and “How can China not cross the halfway line?”

Others had harsh criticism for Son. A Chinese fan mockingly said, “He is a typical example of a Korean,” and “He acts polite and cultured, but he is nasty inside. This is a classic Korean characteristic.”

Son noted, “Our priority is what direction we will take from here on,” and “There are many talented players. But what’s important is choosing the right direction without rushing.”

As he said, the main goal for the Korean national team is how the players will develop under stable leadership.

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