South Korea breathes a sigh of relief after Son Heung-min ends ‘Silence’ | South Korea

sOn the amazing Heung-min 13 minutes of hat-trick against Leicester On Saturday, he ended his eight-game campaign, or “silence” as it was called in South Korea. When these Tottenham matches came and went without a goal, the mood in East Asia was more bleak than ever, bleaker before the dawn of Seoul last week when the striker was substituted in 2-0 loss to Sporting in Lisbon.

Whatever was said in England about a dry spot that felt longer as it spanned from the start of the season, the conversation was louder in the quiet morning land. With the Taeguk Warriors hoping for a place in the playoffs in Qatar looking to rely largely on Son’s form and fitness, the concerns were understandable but some time off the bench for the big star might not be the worst thing for the South Korean world. Cup hopes.

The 30-year-old last arrived at Incheon International Airport in May when he carried the Premier League Golden Boot aloft to enthusiastic fans and photographers. The three goals at the weekend mean that when he gets off the plane from London to play friendlies against Costa Rica on Friday and Cameroon four days later, he is unlikely to receive the kind of questions that have been answered before. National team coach Paulo Bento, last week when the Portuguese was asked about his captain. “There is no anxiety and I feel the same way when he scores a lot,” Pinto said. “We will focus on what we have to do in these two matches and I have every confidence in him as usual. I don’t intend to talk to him about it.”

Perhaps there should be a conversation in South Korea. The past few weeks have shed light on how a single player has dominated the national team scene to an extent that may not be healthy for a country as long as it grapples with the challenge of how to bridge the gap between being an Asian powerhouse and becoming an established global player. For the first time in years, probably since 2015 when he was Signed for Tottenham Hotspur from Bayer LeverkusenThe son was not like the son, and no one knew what to do with him. Seeing the striker on the bench as the match kicked off on Saturday made headlines in North London and South Korea.

The striker, over the past four years, has played the most and traveled more than anyone else. For his club, there’s been a succession of English and European commitments as well as the occasional North American and East Asian tour, but he really cut the air miles for his country. There was the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia (where he helped the team He wins gold and gets exemption from military service, although he still had to spend three weeks training in 2020) and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE. Add in qualifying for Qatar with matches across Asia, plenty of home friendlies (a round trip from London to Seoul is a punishing trip that ended up with Park Ji-sung when he was at Manchester United) and a wide range of commercial activities – it’s almost the easiest To ask about the unadvertised South Korean companies — and there have been a few whispers lately wondering if he’s taken too much, off the field — from a highly marketable star, it would be surprising if Son didn’t feel a little lazy.

Son celebrates a goal for South Korea. The captain carries his country’s hopes in the next World Cup in Qatar. Photo: Han Jong-chan/The Associated Press

The treble could mean less time on the bench for Tottenham in the run-up to South Korea’s 10th consecutive World Cup with group matches against Uruguay, Ghana and Portugal. It is unlikely that there would be any relief for his country because he was chosen by Pinto whenever the opportunity, whether competitive or friendly, allowed.

There have been a few criticisms of the coach’s four years in office, chief among them that he doesn’t seem to have found, or even tried to find, a way to win matches that doesn’t depend on Son.

Perhaps that explains why Son has shined brightly in the past for Tottenham but seems less happy when he wears red, or whatever color Nike insists on making, in the 2002 World Cup semi-finals. The expectations of an entire nation can be heavy, And the 30-year-old often tries to do a lot on his own.

The South Korean media breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday, but it would have been great if Son had not played or scored against Leicester, to see how all sides could have handled this international break. The Chuncheon native usually came home full of smiles and goals, only to look tired in South Korea. So perhaps the club’s problems and the time off the bench could have produced something different at the national team level. Looking at his weekend tournaments, we’ll probably never know.