‘World class’ Son Heung-min, 31, Tottenham, has arrived in China. The entire continent is buzzing.
Jürgen Klinsmann’s men’s national team will take on the Chinese national team in the second round of the 2026 North American Football Confederations Cup Asia Zone Second Qualifying Round at the Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China, on May 21.
South Korea defeated Singapore 5-0 in Seoul on Sept. 16. Cho Kyu-sung, Hwang Hee-chan, Son Heung-min, Hwang Eui-jo, and Lee Kang-in all found the back of the net. South Korea will look to make it five straight wins against China in A matches.
In terms of objective power, South Korea is the overwhelming favorite. South Korea is ranked 24th in the FIFA rankings, third in Asia, while China is ranked 79th, also 11th in Asia. South Korea will be looking to qualify for their 11th consecutive World Cup. China will be looking to qualify for the first time since the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America, when the field was expanded to 32 nations.
It will be six years since the South Korea A team traveled to China after the “Changsha disaster” in March 2017. South Korea, then coached by Uli Stielike, suffered a 0-1 loss to China in the sixth match of the 2018 World Cup final qualifying round.
It was the first defeat in South Korea’s history against China. It was Marcello Lippi’s first victory in charge of the Chinese national team. The defeat put Stielike under enormous pressure. Kim Jin-soo and Hwang Hee-chan are the only players left from that match. Son Heung-min missed the trip to China due to accumulated cautions.
South Korean players who play for big European clubs are very popular in China. In particular, Son Heung-min, who is known as “Sung-min” in China, is extremely popular. China has no players in the Premier League. In the past, Dong Fangzhou tried out for Manchester United, but was humiliated by being labeled a “T-shirt for sale”. 무지개토토
With Son as the top scorer in the world’s top league, the Chinese are vicariously satisfied. It is this recognition of Son’s achievements that has led to the outrageous claim that “Heung-min is actually a descendant of the Chinese people”.
According to Tencent Sports, “South Korea’s total player fee is 187.75 million euros (about 264.4 billion won), which is close to 200 million euros. China is a distant 10th in Asia with €11.8 million (about 16.6 billion won). South Korea is worth more than 17 times as much as China. Even Son Heung-min is worth more than the combined value of 23 players on the Chinese national team.”