The first step toward qualifying for an 11th consecutive World Cup is easy. Klinsmann’s men defeated Singapore to record their first win in World Cup qualifying.
The South Korean national soccer team, led by Klinsmann, defeated Singapore 5-0 on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Seoul World Cup Stadium in the first match of Group C of the 2026 North American Football Confederation (NAFTA) Asia Secondary Qualifiers.

With three points, South Korea now sits atop Group C.

Massive goal win despite a late first goal

South Korea lined up in a 4-1-3-2 formation. Son Heung-min and Cho Kyu-sung were up front, with Hwang Hee-chan, Lee Jae-sung, and Kang In forming the second line. Hwang In-beom was the defensive midfielder, Lee Ki-je, Kim Min-jae, Jeong Seung-hyun, and Seol Young-woo were the back four, and Cho Hyun-woo was in goal.

Despite a lopsided 81% first-half possession, the Koreans struggled against the Singapore defense, which managed just six shots on goal.

South Korea’s first shot on goal came from Hwang In-beom in the ninth minute. He struck a bold left-footed mid-range shot from a central open space. In the 22nd minute, Lee Kang-in, Cho Kyu-sung, and Lee Jae-sung combined, but the assistant referee raised the offside flag. Replays confirmed that it was onside.

In the 28th minute, Lee Kang-in sent in a right-footed cross from the right side, and Lee Jae-sung, who was rushing to the other side, attempted a free header that was saved by the goalkeeper. In the 33rd minute, Cho Kyu-sung’s powerful half-volley bounced off the top of the post.

Center backs Kim Min-jae and Jeong Seung-hyun continued to work above the halfway line to maximize their attacking numbers, but they were unable to break Singapore’s thick defensive block.

It wasn’t until the 45th minute that South Korea finally broke through against their opponents’ extreme defense. Lee Kang-in delivered a sensational early cross from the right side with a precise left-footed delivery. Cho Kyu-sung slipped into the space behind the defense and calmly finished with a non-stop left-footed shot.

With the first goal, the pendulum had swung completely in Korea’s favor. Four minutes into the second half, Lee Kang-in dribbled past two players on the right side of the field, but Cho Kyu-sung took over and delivered a precise cross. Hwang Hee-chan rattled the net with a header before the opposing defense could clear it.

Trailing by two goals, Singapore increased their attack, centered on Song Eui-young. In the 18th minute of the second half, the quiet captain stepped up to the plate. Son Heung-min beat one defender in the box arc circle and fired a left-footed mid-range shot into the net. 보스토토 도메인

Coach Klinsmann made three substitutions in the 19th minute to prepare for the next match. Instead of Cho Kyu-sung, Lee Ki-je, and Lee Jae-sung, he brought on Hwang Eui-jo, Kim Jin-soo, and Jung Woo-young.

In the 21st minute, Lee sent a sensational heel pass into space. Seol Young-woo was pushed down by Song Eui-young in the box and won a penalty kick, which was converted by Hwang Eui-jo in the 23rd minute to drive a wedge into the game.

Coach Klinsmann took off Hwang In-beom and Hwang Hee-chan in the 25th minute to give Lee Sun-min and Oh Hyun-gyu more playing time. He switched to a front line of Hwang Eui-jo and Oh Hyun-gyu, with Jung Woo-young, Son Heung-min, and Lee Kang-in supporting the second line.

South Korea wasn’t satisfied with four goals. In the 40th minute of the second half, Lee scored with a thunderous left-footed mid-range shot.

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