‘Lethal’ and ‘special’ – Bentancur and Son discuss their impending World Cup clash
Wed 23 November 2022, 22:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Rodrigo Bentancur and Heung-Min Son hope to begin their respective World Cup campaigns up against one another when Uruguay take on South Korea in Al Rayyan on Thursday (24 November, 1pm UK time).
While both men are determined to claim victory against the other in what could be the first of three direct clashes between our players at this stage of the tournament – Harry Kane and Eric Dier’s England go up against Ben Davies and Joe Rodon of Wales while Hugo Lloris and France meet Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s Denmark over the next week – they both agree on one thing: Both of their nations are set for an “especially tough” campaign in Group H, with Ghana and Portugal also in the mix.
“I think we’ve got a tough group and playing against Son too... South Korea are a really good team,” said 25-year-old midfielder Rodrigo, who recently surpassed a half-century of caps for Uruguay.
“I’ve already played against Son in a couple of friendlies and I know how hard he can make life for our defenders.
“He’s great in one-v-one situations, he can shoot with both feet and he’s a lethal striker in front of goal. But with Uruguay, we have our own strengths too, so I think it’s going to be a great group phase.”
On the prospect of facing his club colleague on Thursday, Sonny, now 30 years of age and with over 100 international caps under his belt, said: “All groups are tough, but I think this group is especially tough.
“That said, I’m really looking forward to coming up against Rodrigo. Facing a team-mate in the World Cup is special and something you’ll never forget.”
Despite an initial injury scare – Son suffered a fracture around his left eye in our UEFA Champions League victory in Marseille at the start of this month that required surgery – South Korea’s captain and talisman has spoken of his joy at the chance to be involved in ‘the biggest competition in football.’
“To feature in the World Cup is a privilege,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to get ready for the biggest competition in football and represent your country, so I’m just really happy to be involved and to be able to take part. Playing for this beautiful country makes me feel really proud, so that’s always something amazing in itself. As a child, the idea of playing in the World Cup was a dream and, even now as a footballer, it’s still a huge honour.”
With games against Ghana and Portugal lined up next, Sonny is optimistic about South Korea’s chances of progressing in Qatar: “I’m definitely looking forward to making more fantastic memories,” he added ahead of his third consecutive finals. “I can’t wait for our matches to begin!”