‘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 in A matches against China.레모나토토
In terms of objective strength, South Korea is the overwhelming favorite. South Korea is ranked 24th in FIFA, third in Asia, while China is ranked 79th, 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 at the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America, when the field is 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 win 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.
Korean players who play for big European clubs are also 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.
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.”
The comparison between Son Heung-min and China’s top player Wu Lei is particularly striking. “Kim Min-jae, who moved to Bayern Munich in July, was the highest-priced South Korean player at 60 million euros (about 84.6 billion won). He is followed by Son Heung-min, who has scored eight goals in the Premier League, at 50 million euros (70.5 billion won). China’s top player is Wu Lei, who plays in La Liga, at €2 million. “Son Heung-min is 50 times more expensive than Wu Lei,” he said in astonishment.
Objective strength also favored South Korea. “South Korea has a huge overseas contingent of 13 players,” the outlet said. China only has one overseas player, Wu Xiaokong, and he plays in the second division for Turkkiye. Of course, Wu Lei has played for Espanyol in La Liga in the past, but he can’t even compare to Korea. The gap between China and Korea is too big for a head-to-head match. It will be difficult to win, but it is not impossible to hold out for a draw,” said the Chinese coach.