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World Cup: Why Korean star striker Son Heung-min plays in a black mask at Qatar 2022

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Caption,

Son Heung-min had just three weeks to recover.

It looks like a superhero mask like the ones used by Pixar’s The Incredibles, but the only superpower it gives is being able to be on the playing field.

Son Heung-mincaptain and star striker of the soccer team of South Koreaentered the field this Thursday in his country’s debut against Uruguay for Group H of the World Cup in Qatar with a black mask that covered the upper half of his face.

The match ended in a goalless draw.

The reason why he should have used that protection is that on November 1 fractured near left eye socket when colliding with the Congolese defender Chancel Mbemba in a match between English Tottenham Hotspur – where the South Korean plays – and Olympique de Marseille for the group stage of the European Champions League.

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Caption,

The moment of the clash between Son and Chancel Mbemba in the match on November 1 for the Champions League.

Son, 30, underwent surgery on November 4 and five days later assured that he would be ready to play in the World Cup, although some doubted how it would arrive because he had barely three weeks to recover.

“I won’t miss this for the world. I can’t wait to represent our beautiful country,” the footballer wrote on Instagram.

“Playing for your country in the World Cup is the dream of so many children growing up, as it was for me too,” he added.

image source, Getty Images

Caption,

Son is one of the top stars of South Korean soccer.

image source, Reuters

Caption,

The captain of the Uruguayan team, Diego Godín, came over to greet Son at the end of the game.

Son jointly won the Premier League’s top scorer’s golden boot last season but has struggled to regain his form this campaign with five goals in 19 games in all competitions for Hotspur.

The South Korean striker is not the only one wearing a mask at Qatar 2022. The Belgian defender was spotted on Wednesday Thomas Meunier with one in the debut of his team against Canada.

image source, Getty Images

Caption,

Thomas Meunier broke his cheekbone last month.

Meunier, 31, also suffered a fracture, although in his case it was a cheekbone. It happened on October 19 in a match between Borussia Dortmund, his team, and Hannover 96, both from the German league.

In addition to Uruguay, South Korea shares a group in this World Cup with Portugal and Ghana.

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