National soccer team meets fans for the first time in seven months…and it’s an upbeat open training session

South Korea’s men’s national soccer team practiced in front of fans for the first time in nearly seven months.

The team, led by interim head coach Kim Do-hoon, held an open training session from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 at Goyang Sports Complex in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do, for about an hour and a half.

The players were in a more cheerful mood than ever as they met their fans for the first time in a long time.

The national team has held open training days for fans every time it convenes, but it did not hold one for the March A match due to internal squad issues that emerged after the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup and critical public opinion toward the 안전카지노사이트 Korean Football Association.

At the time, Hwang Sun-hong, the team’s interim coach, and the KFA had asked soccer fans and the sponsors of the event to understand.

This was the first time soccer fans were able to see the national team up close since an open training session at Mokdong Sports Complex in Yangcheon-gu, Seoul, last November. According to the Korea Football Association, it had been about seven months.

The 300 fans who met the players for the first time in a long time cheered them on with chants such as “I love Son Heung-min,” “Go, Lee Kang-in,” and “Go, Hwang In-beom.”

The players, including Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang In-beom (Zvezda), and Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), responded to the fans’ cheers by training with a positive attitude.

On June 6, Kim Do-hoon led South Korea to a 7-0 victory over Singapore in the fifth match of Group C of the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026 Asian qualifying campaign.

The victory secured Korea’s early qualification for the final round.

After returning home via Incheon International Airport on July 7, the players had a short break before reuniting with their fans and preparing for the upcoming match against China.

Earlier in the day, players who started or played heavily in the Singapore match practiced recovery drills, while those who were substitutes or played only a short amount of time went through general drills to improve their condition.

After the training session, a souvenir presentation ceremony organized by the Football Association was held.

Starting with Hwang In-beom, Lee Kang-in, Son Heung-min, Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), and others took turns drawing numbers to give out gifts. Afterward, they went into the locker room to sign autographs and take selfies with fans.

At the end of the raffle, Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan held a surprise for the fans. They gave away unexpected sweatshirts as gifts.

Hwang Hee-chan grabbed the announcer’s microphone and shouted, “Do you want Son Heung-min’s sweatshirt?” and the fans responded with cheers.

Unexpectedly, Son took off his training jacket, signed it, and handed it to the winner.

“Do you want a T-shirt?” Hwang Hee-chan asked, and Son Heung-min laughed at his brother’s extraordinary fan service and took off his national team T-shirt, which he was wearing underneath his training uniform, to sign and give to the winning fan.

Even Hwang Hee-chan signed a towel he was carrying and presented it to the fan before leaving for work, ending the open training session after seven months.

Meanwhile, Kim Do Hoon-ho will face China at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Seoul World Cup Stadium in the sixth match of the second round of World Cup qualifying.

South Korea has already qualified for the final round of qualifying and topped the group, but will be looking for a win against China to secure the top seed in the final round.

A win over the Chinese will ensure that they remain the third-ranked Asian nation in the FIFA rankings, behind Japan (18th) and Iran (20th).

The seeding for the third qualifying round, which will be played in three groups starting in September, is based on the June FIFA rankings.

South Korea, currently ranked 23rd in Asia, has 1563.99 ranking points, narrowly ahead of Australia (24th, 1563.93), the fourth-ranked team in Asia.

A win against China will be crucial to secure the top seed and avoid tricky opponents Japan and Iran in the final round of qualifiers, which could see them advance to their 11th consecutive tournament.

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