DOHA – Son Heung-min said that he was just happy to be back after the South Korean skipper returned from a facial injury to play in the 0-0 World Cup stalemate with Uruguay on Thursday.
The striker wore a mask to protect the injury he suffered while playing in the Champions League for Spurs as South Korea took a point in their opener in Qatar.
The 30-year-old had surgery for fractures around his left eye just three weeks ago and this was his first time to play competitively since.
“I feel ok, I’m not the only one to wear a mask, some players wear masks. I feel comfortable,” he told reporters afterwards.
“I’m just happy to be here, happy with the mask that I could play, it’s just so amazing.”
Son made minimal impact in a game in which Uruguay twice hit the woodwork, but South Korea coach Paulo Bento said that the superstar striker needed time to get back to his brilliant best.
“We need to put it into context, Son is a player that up until his injury had continuous rhythm, good performances… but he had a serious injury.
“He was inactive for a considerable amount of time, he could only reintegrate into our team in the last few days.
“It’s natural that it will take him some time to readapt after the injury.”
Hwang Ui-jo wasted Korea’s best chance, skying a shot from 10 yards out with only the goalkeeper to beat and Son said a draw was a fair result.
“Both sides probably happy with the result. It was an end-to-end game, a really intense game, both sides had chances so I think 0-0 is a fair point,” he said.
“We fought and competed and probably also we could have got three points, but Uruguay also played amazing.”
South Korea next play Ghana in Group H, followed by a clash with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. AFP