Golden Boot winners Son Heung-min, Mo Salah to face off in international friendly
Premier League Golden Boot winners Son Heung-min and Mohamed Salah will get one more chance to face each before the 2022-23 season begins, with the Korean national football team set to face Egypt in a friendly on June 14.
Korea will face Egypt in the final of four friendlies scheduled to kick off the summer. The national team will first face Brazil at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Mapo District, western Seoul on June 2, before taking on Chile at Daejeon World Cup Stadium in Daejeon on June 6 and Paraguay at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi on June 10.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) had reportedly originally hoped to face Argentina in the fourth friendly, but the South American team had to pull out of the fixture. The fixture remained scheduled with an unknown opponent until Thursday, when both the KFA and the Egyptian Football Association announced that Egypt would travel to Korea for the game.
Egypt and Korea have very little head-to-head history. The two sides last faced off in 2005, when Egypt won 1-0. A lot has changed over the intervening 17 years, and Korea now outranks Egypt on the FIFA World Ranking, at No. 29 to Egypt's No. 32.
While the game acts as a warm up for Korea ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November, Egypt were unable to secure a spot at the global tournament. Despite being one of the top-ranked teams from the Confederation of African Football, Egypt were knocked out of the World Cup qualifiers after losing to Senegal on penalties.
As well as two fairly well-matched teams, the Korea-Egypt friendly is likely to be an interesting game because it pits Premier League Golden Boot winners Son of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool's Salah against each other.
With 23 goals scored throughout the 2021-22 Premier League season, Son and Salah split the league's top-scorer award last week. Although they regularly face off in the Premier League, the two have never had the chance to play each other with their respective national teams.
At the club level, Son and Salah two clashes this season both ended in draws: 2-2 on Dec. 19 last year and 1-1 on May 7. Son scored for Tottenham in both games while Salah remained quiet.
Having arrived back in Korea on Tuesday, Son will join head coach Paulo Bento and the rest of the Korean squad to begin training ahead of the four friendlies on May 30. The squad does face some challenges, however, with Bundesliga-based midfielders Lee Dong-jun and Lee Jae-sung and Fenerbahce center back Kim Min-jae all out with injuries.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]