South Korea looks to youth after World Cup loss to Brazil

Dec 5, 2022, 3:34 PM | Updated: Dec 6, 2022, 5:36 am
South Korea's Son Heung-min applauds the fans after losing 4-1 during the World Cup round of 16 soc...

South Korea's Son Heung-min applauds the fans after losing 4-1 during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and South Korea at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jin-Man Lee)

(AP Photo/Jin-Man Lee)

              South Korea's Hwang Hee-chan react at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and South Korea, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. Brazil won 4-1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
            
              South Korea's Hwang Hee-chan reacts at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and South Korea, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. Brazil won 4-1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
            
              South Korea's Son Heung-min applauds the fans after losing 4-1 during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and South Korea at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jin-Man Lee)
            
              South Korea's Son Heung-min walks with the ball during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and South Korea, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — South Korea lost in the round of 16 of the World Cup and then lost its coach.

The team was beaten by five-time champion Brazil 4-1 on Monday. After the match, South Korea coach Paulo Bento announced that he was stepping down to end his four-year stint. The Portuguese coach said he made the decision several months ago.

EXPECTATION VS. PERFORMANCE

South Korea was knocked out of the 2019 Asian Cup in the quarterfinals, so reaching the last 16 in Qatar can be seen as a positive. South Korea was appearing in its 10th straight World Cup, and its 11th overall.

This was the third time South Korea has reached the knockout round. It’s best performance was in 2002 when it co-hosted the event with Japan and reached the semifinals.

WHO’S OUT

A key figure missing will be Bento. However, the current group of players is arguably the best that South Korea has assembled, and most are relatively young.

One of the older players is 30-year-old Son Heung-min, the star midfielder at English club Tottenham. Son failed to score in this World Cup after getting goals in the last two.

He did get a beautiful assist on Hwang-Hee-chan’s goal, which gave South Korea a 2-1 victory over Portugal and a place in the last 16.

Son played in the tournament wearing a black facemask to protect a broken left eye socket picked up in a Champions League game on Nov. 2.

WHO’S NEXT

After the loss, Son pointed out who he thinks will be the next players to lead South Korea. He singled out to Lee Kang-in and Paik Seung-ho. Paik came in and scored as a substitute against Brazil in his first World Cup action.

“I am grateful that our young players showed what they are capable of doing on this stage and also the potential for what they could do in the future,” Son said. “I hope they get even better.”

Son also took center stage to apologize for the Brazil loss.

“I am really sorry for our people, for soccer fans who supported us,” Son said. “It turned out to be an extremely difficult match.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

South Korea has qualified for the Asian Cup, but will receive tough competition from Japan, Australia and Saudi Arabia — all World Cup qualifiers. The event, scheduled for January 2024, was moved to Qatar after China withdrew, citing COVID-19.

___

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives against New York Knicks center Jericho Sims during the...
Associated Press

Irving to miss Nets’ game Saturday, day after trade request

NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving will not play for the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, a day after he told the team he would like to be traded. The Nets said Irving’s absence was due to right calf soreness, adding him to the injury report for their game against Washington. Irving had not been […]
1 day ago
A man works at an avocado orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 26,...
Associated Press

Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers

SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. […]
1 day ago
Austin Krajicek, right, and Rajeev Ram of the USA in action against Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev...
Associated Press

US sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals on Saturday, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek. They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ancer keeps his distance over Young in Saudi Arabia

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Abraham Ancer had a 6-under 64 to bump his lead to two shots over Cameron Young on Saturday going into the final round of the Saudi International. Ancer and Young, the PGA Tour rookie of the year who had a 65, have separated themselves from the field […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts runs a drill during practice at the NFL football team's training f...
Associated Press

Super Bowl-bound Eagles are built around QB Jalen Hurts

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to draft Jalen Hurts in 2020 came with as much hand-wringing as intrigue regarding how to use the talented Heisman Trophy finalist. The Eagles already had quarterback Carson Wentz locked into a $128 million contract. They certainly had more pressing needs at the time on all sides of […]
1 day ago
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
1 day ago
South Korea looks to youth after World Cup loss to Brazil