National soccer team defender Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) gave Jürgen Klinsmann’s first win as head coach with a body-slamming defense in Saudi Arabia. Kim Min-jae, who sparked controversy over his retirement from the national team in an interview in March, made amends by securing Klinsmann’s first win.
Kim played both halves of a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in an exhibition match at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England, on Wednesday (Feb. 13).
The day didn’t start well. Kim made a mistake with a forward pass in the 14th minute. The momentum shifted in Saudi Arabia’s favor after the mistake, and Korea was able to overcome the danger of conceding a goal amid the intense Saudi offense that followed.
After the first half ended with a 1-0 lead thanks to Cho Kyu-sung’s goal, Kim Min-jae began to show his skills in the second half.
In the third minute of the second half, Kim delivered an exquisite penetrating pass to Son Heung-min. While it didn’t result in a goal, the pass from Kim to Son to Lee was one of the highlights of the game.
In the fourth minute of the second half, Kim made a play that was reminiscent of his time at Napoli. Through forward pressure, Kim stole the ball from a Saudi player and dribbled boldly to the goal line to win a corner kick.
In the 10th minute of the second half, as the Saudis pushed for an equalizer, Kim Min-jae cut off the Saudi attack with a clever breakaway and forward pass.
In stoppage time, as the Saudi attack peaked and the fear of conceding an equalizer loomed large, Kim made a daring play by throwing himself at his opponent. It showed his determination to not concede a goal.
In doing so, Kim was able to atone for the controversy over his retirement remarks in an interview during the A-Match call-up in March and the ensuing noise.
After the March loss to Uruguay in an exhibition match, Kim told reporters, “I’m mentally broken. I want to focus on my team rather than the national team,” which led to a controversy over his retirement from the national team. Although Kim later apologized, the interview served as the epicenter of a feud within the national team 토토사이트.
With the controversy still raging, Kim was sent to basic military training for two June A matches. In his absence, Klinsmann’s team continued to struggle, drawing one and losing one.
Kim, who was upset by his move from Napoli to Bayern Munich, returned to training with a positive attitude and put to rest the rumors of discord. He then showed his fighting spirit against Saudi Arabia to secure the first win for Klinsmann’s team.
It will be interesting to see if he can re-establish himself as the core of the defense and lead Korea to victory at the Asian Cup in Qatar next year.