Korea moves closer to 2022 World Cup


Isabelle Lee, Reporter

On Oct. 7, South Korea played against Syria in its first round of the world-cup qualifiers, which is the mandatory step before entering the official World Cup. Winning one game and tying the other, South Korea moved one step closer to participating in the 2022 World Cup. With six more games left in the qualifiers, South Koreans have started to actively cheer for the team. 


“The 2022 World Cup is certainly something that I am excited about and looking forward to watching,” Joseph Kim (9), a prospective student athlete, said. “As demonstrated in the first game against Syria, the main takeaway is that there are always unexpected twists and surprises throughout the games, since the result of a game could change at the last minute. As a Korean citizen, I support Son Heung-min and his crew and hope that our performance this year is better than before.”


In the first game, following Hwang In-bum’s goal in the 48th minute, Syrian footballer Omar Khribin scored in the 87th minute, making victory for the Korean team seem less attainable. However, the match once again took a turnas Son Heung-min scored the winning goal in the 89th minute, one minute before the end of the match. This marked the conclusion of the exhausting game.


“The first game against Syria was a dramatic play,” Andrew Nam (11), soccer fanatic, said. “I thought that the final goal scored by Son Heung-min was a truly conclusive goal that tied up the match, as it was the game winning point. From the start to finish, I was very nervous, but I have to give kudos to the team for bringing the long awaited victory to Koreans.”


Unlike the first game that resulted in Korean victory, the second match against Iran concluded with a tie of 1-1. When Son Heung-min scored the first goal of the game, victory for the Korean team seemed probable. However, things evened out as Alireza Jahanbakhsh leveled the field with a goal for Iran. Nonetheless, South Korea outperformed Iran in its number of passes, possession, shots taken.  


“I think the game against Iran showed a lot about what the Korean team could improve on, especially making the formation more adaptive to Iran’s play,” Jihoon Kim (11) Son Heung-min superfan, said. “More players running could also make the play more effective. Furthermore, defensive strategies need to be better devised to secure the results for the South Korean team.”


Although winning and losing play big roles in soccer, the gathering of Koreans to support one unified cause is just as remarkable. During the matches, South Koreans come together to support the team with friends, family, or even strangers. At a time when the future is so unpredictable, the World Cup is a way to tie people together and temporarily free them from worries in the midst of an ongoing crisis.


“Especially at a time like this when things are not looking too positive for many people, soccer can be a break from the dire reality,” Alex Nam (10), sports expert, said. “Ever since the start of COVID-19, many people have been unemployed, fired, depressed, and had to deal with more troubles than ever before. This World Cup can be the opportunity for those people to relieve themselves and truly enjoy soccer.”