Son, 26, jetted off to Indonesia for the Asian Games after staying in England for the opening day win over Newcastle United.
The speedy forward missed the 3-1 win over Fulham on Saturday, as he featured in South Korea’s 6-0 win over Bahrain last Wednesday and in the shock 2-1 defeat to Malaysia on Friday. That left the South Koreans needing to beat Kyrgyzstan to advance into the knockout stages, and captain Son led from the front by scoring the only goal of the game in a gritty win.
They finished with six points, as did Malaysia, but going by the head-to-head result, the Malaysians topped the group with Son’s South Korea grabbing the runners-up spot.
That means that South Korea will now face Iran in the knockout stages on Thursday. As far as the head-to-head-record stands, South Korea have not won any of their last nine games against Iran, losing five and drawing four. So if the overall record and recent showings are taken into account, Son and South Korea will have a mountain to climb against the Iranians.
If South Korea lose to Iran, it’s possible that Son could be back in time to be a part of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad at Old Trafford.
A gold medal in Indonesia is Son’s last chance to earn exemption from his country’s mandatory 21-month military service and it would be better if Son returned home with the Asian Cup next month and not this week.