“Hwang Hee-chan, not even a close brother…for that time” Son Heung-min remembers Korean Derby

“Hwang Hee-chan, not even a close brother…for that time” Son Heung-min remembers Korean Derby

The 12th round of the English Premier League between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, England, on November 11th (KST) was highly anticipated as the “Korean Derby”.

It wasn’t the first time the two players had faced each other, but as both players were performing at the top of their game, the media, including the Premier League’s official press office, focused on the ‘Korean Derby’.

Park Ji-sung also visited the Molineux Stadium with his former Manchester United teammate Patrice Evra, and told local media, “It’s not common for Korean players to face each other in the Premier League. I’m looking forward to it (personally) because both teams have been playing well this season,” he said, adding, “I think the Korean fans will be excited.”

Before the match, the broadcast cameras showed a long shot of Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan, and when the players from both teams greeted each other before the match, Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan were seen holding hands with smiles on their faces.

However, this was not a “Korean derby” for Son Heung-min, but the 12th of 38 Premier League matches this season.

“At that time, Hwang Hee-chan was not even a close brother to me,” Son Heung-min quipped at a press conference at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Friday, a day before South Korea’s match against Singapore in the second qualifying round for the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026, alongside head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.

Son’s comments came when he was asked how he felt about playing against Singapore’s Song Eui-young. The Incheon native was granted Singaporean citizenship in 2021 and made her A-Match debut on November 11 that year in an exhibition match against Kyrgyzstan. So far, he has four goals and three assists in 20 A-match appearances for the Singapore national team.

“I haven’t talked to the players much (about Song Ui-Young),” said Son Heung-Min. “Hwang Hee-Chan and I had a lot of issues in Korea, but for me, he was just an opponent. He wasn’t a close brother to me, and he was a threatening opponent.”

“(Song) is a serious opponent for me. I respect him, and of course, he plays for Singapore, so I don’t want him to do well on the field. I’m Korean,” he added.

Unlike Son Heung-min, Hwang Hee-chan’s experience of the Korean Derby was different. “It’s not new for me to see (Son) Heung-min in the national team, but it was a special and new feeling to see him on the other team,” Hwang told reporters on the 13th, the first day of the call-up. “We didn’t talk much because we had to leave right after the game. I think he was probably upset as a captain because Tottenham was leading and we lost two games in a row.”

South Korea, which received the No. 1 seed in the second round of qualifying according to the FIFA rankings, was drawn in Group C with Singapore, China and Thailand. Singapore advanced to the second round of qualifying after a 1-0 victory over Guam in the first leg of their 2026 FIFA World Cup Asia qualifier in Guam on Sunday, winning the first leg 3-1 on aggregate.

After the first leg against Singapore, South Korea will travel to China for the second leg against China on Nov. 21.

“My club played a game against a Singaporean team in pre-season. I only played the first half, but we drew 1-1, because we were in a situation where we had to raise our whole body, but we finished the game 1-1 against Tottenham. When I played, I thought, ‘There are definitely players who are threatening,’ so I’ll have to work hard and execute the basic things that the coach asks me to do.”

Jürgen Klinsmann added: “It’s a very important day. World Cup qualification is a very long road. We need to get off to a good start.” “I don’t think (Singapore) are underdogs by any means. I went to Singapore and watched their professional team play and saw them beat a strong Korean team. I felt like it was a warning to the national team. It’s not like we think we’re going to win, but we’re serious. Singapore is a team that can score from set pieces or on the counterattack. We will be more serious and serious than ever. We welcome the Singaporean team to Sangam, but we will be serious and serious about the game.” 캡틴토토 주소

South Korea have met Singapore 26 times in their history, winning 21, drawing three and losing two. The last defeat was a 3-4 loss in Singapore on August 27, 1968. Since then, the Koreans have won 13 of the last 14 matches and have won nine straight, dating back to the 1976 King’s Cup and the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. This is the first time the senior national team has qualified since 1990 and 34 years since the A team qualified for the 1989 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

In the second round of qualifying, the top two finishers in each group will advance to the World Cup Third Qualifying Round, while also qualifying for the 2027 Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia. The top two finishers in the third qualifying round will qualify for the World Cup.

The Asian qualifiers will also be different, with the North American World Cup expanding to 48 nations. Asia is allotted a total of 8.5 spots.


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