Korean soccer bows its head again Draw with 101st ranked Thailand

World Cup Asia 2nd qualifying round 1-1 Son Heung-min first goal - 78% ball possession. Lee Kang-in, who was controversial for not being able to score an additional goal in a one-sided game, came on as a substitute in the second half, and Son Heung-min said, “It was a difficult game. “It’s a shame”

During the Asian Cup that ended last month, the Korean national soccer team, which caused a lot of noise when captain Son Heung-min and nine-year-old junior Lee Kang-in got into a neck-and-neck fight, failed to get the victory it desperately needed to change the mood. Korea, ranked 22nd in the FIFA rankings, was unable to quell the aftermath of being eliminated from the Asian Cup in the semifinals as it ended in a draw with Thailand, ranked 101st.

The national soccer team, with Coach Hwang Seon-hong as the interim head coach, drew 1-1 in the third match of the 2026 North and Central America (USA, Mexico and Canada) World Cup Asia 2nd qualifying round match against Thailand held at Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 21st. Before today's game, Korea had an overwhelming advantage over Thailand with 30 wins, 7 draws, and 8 losses. With the draw that day, Korea had 2 wins and 1 draw in Group C of the World Cup Asia 2nd qualifying round. Korea defeated Singapore (first match) and China (second match) in November last year.

Korea scored the first goal in the 42nd minute of the first half when captain Son Heung-min received a pass from Lee Jae-seong and penetrated the right side of the opponent's goal with his left foot from the left side of the penalty box. It was Son Heung-min's 45th goal in international matches. The top scorer in A-match history is former national soccer team coach Cha Bum-geun (58 goals), and the second place is coach Hwang (50 goals). Son Heung-min is ranked 3rd in history. Lee Kang-in was replaced by Jung Woo-young in the 17th minute of the second half of the day, but did not show any impressive moves.

Korea failed to win even though it played a one-sided game with a superiority, as shown by the ball possession ratio of 78% to 22% on this day. Although they had a large lead in the number of shots, 25-6 (effective shots 8-2), they lacked the ability to make a goal. Korea, which was pounding hard on the opponent's goal, gave up an equalizer in the 16th minute of the second half and was unable to score an additional goal after that. After the game, Son Heung-min said, “If you miss a decisive opportunity, you will have a difficult game. This is an area that needs to be improved. It's important not to concede goals, but we had a difficult game after conceding goals. “It’s a shame we couldn’t win,” he said.

After Thailand scored the tying goal, they used the so-called '10 back' tactic, with everyone participating in the defense, and the Korean attack line had a hard time. Japanese coach Masatada Ishii of Thailand said after the game, “All of our players played very hard. “I’m happy to get one point against a strong team like Korea,” he said. Even before today’s game, Coach Ishii said, “The goal is to get 1 point (no draw).”

Joo Min-gyu (Ulsan), who was born in April 1990 and set the record for the oldest player ever to be selected for the National Team A, started on this day and played until 17 minutes in the second half, setting the record for being the oldest (34 years old) A-match debut in the history of the national team. The previous record was 32 years old by Han Chang-hwa (1922-2006), who played in the Turkic League at the 1954 Swiss World Cup.

Due to the so-called 'Lee Kang-in's downfall' that occurred during the Asian Cup last month, there were voices among soccer fans calling for a boycott of the match against Thailand that day, but 64,912 spectators attended the stadium. The maximum capacity of Seoul World Cup Stadium was 66,704, which was 1,792 people short. However, when the national anthem was played prior to kick-off, fans, including the national soccer team supporters 'Red Devils', shouted 'Chung Mong-gyu (Korea Football Association President) Get out' and expressed their dissatisfaction with the Football Association's management of the national team. Coach Hwang, the interim head coach of the national team, said, “I am sorry that we could not win. The players did their best until the end. “I will finish the remaining visiting games well,” he said. Korea will visit Thailand in the World Cup Asia 2nd qualifying round on the 26th. 스포츠토토