Kim Min-sun Secures Second Place in World Cup Standings After Silver Medal Win in QuebecSouth Korean Midfielder Embraces Pressure Ahead of Asian Cup SemifinalKlinsmann Advises South Korea to Stay Calm Ahead of Asian Cup Semifinal

SEOUL - South Korean speed skater Kim Min-sun clinched second place in the overall World Cup standings following a silver medal performance in the season finale held in Canada.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Kim finished behind Femke Kok of the Netherlands in the second of two women's 500-meter races, clocking in at 37.91 seconds at the Centre de Glaces in Quebec City on Sunday (local time). Kok edged out Kim by 0.20 second to take the gold.

On the previous day, Kim outpaced Kok to win the gold in the first 500m event, setting a new track record of 37.69 seconds, surpassing her own previous record of 38.14 seconds set in December 2022. This marked the conclusion of the sixth and final World Cup stop for the 2023-2024 season. Despite a challenging start with two missed podiums while adjusting to a new pair of boots, Kim bounced back with her old skates to secure a podium finish in each of her next eight races, which included three golds.

Kim garnered 60 points for her gold on Saturday and added 54 points for her silver on Sunday. However, her total of 514 points was insufficient to overtake Erin Jackson of the United States, who finished the season eight points ahead to secure her second career World Cup overall title in three seasons. Jackson finished fifth and third in her two races in Quebec, narrowly maintaining her lead over Kim.

The 2022-2023 season saw Kim dominate the overall World Cup title, earning five gold medals and one silver in six races.

SEOUL - In the face of mounting pressure to end South Korea's long-standing title drought in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, midfielder Hwang In-beom welcomed the challenge with open arms.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the anticipation and high expectations come as a privilege rather than a burden. South Korea, ranked 23rd in the world, is set to face 87th-ranked Jordan in the semifinals on Tuesday in Qatar, or midnight Wednesday Seoul time. With two victories away from their first Asian Cup title since 1960, the team's journey to the last four has ignited the enthusiasm of their supporters.

Despite the high stakes and the palpable pressure, Hwang remains unfazed. At a pre-match press conference in Doha, he shared his perspective on the expectations placed upon them. "As a football player, you always face pressure to perform, be it with the national team or with the club. It's not unique to this tournament," Hwang stated. He expressed gratitude for the team's ability to harness the motivation from their fans' faith, viewing the pressure as a motivator rather than an obstacle.

Hwang's performance in the tournament has been a mix of brilliance and rare mistakes, but the midfielder is focused on the present, determined not to dwell on past errors. His forward-looking approach is centered on contributing to the team's success and overcoming challenges together. Hwang's appreciation for his teammates shines through, as he values the support system within the team, ready to offer encouragement and assistance in times of need.

South Korea's path to the semifinals has been anything but straightforward. Their journey included a last-minute draw against Jordan in the group stage and a dramatic victory over Australia in the quarterfinals, showcasing resilience and determination. Despite conceding eight goals thus far—a record high for a team in their position—Hwang and his team are ready to defy history and secure the championship.

The team faces a significant challenge with the absence of key defender Kim Min-jae due to suspension. However, Hwang's confidence in his teammates remains unshaken, emphasizing the depth and preparedness of the squad. As they head into the semifinal against Jordan, South Korea aims to continue their pursuit of rewriting history and capturing the Asian Cup title, buoyed by a blend of talent, teamwork, and an unyielding spirit.

SEOUL - Ahead of South Korea's crucial semifinal match against Jordan in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has urged his team to remain calm and focused.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the key to success is to keep a relaxed mindset and look forward to the game with anticipation. The match is scheduled to take place at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, at 6 p.m. Tuesday local time, or midnight Wednesday in South Korea.

Klinsmann's advice to his players is to disregard external distractions, including media commentary, and concentrate solely on their objectives on the field. He praised the team's experience, motivation, and positive attitude, emphasizing the importance of entering the game against Jordan with confidence and a readiness to endure the challenges ahead. The South Korean team has experienced a demanding journey so far, playing over 240 minutes of football in their last two knockout matches within four days, including a penalty shootout victory over Saudi Arabia and an extra-time win against Australia.

The head coach anticipates another tightly contested match against Jordan but is confident in his team's preparation and desire to progress to the final. With the national team's last Asian Cup victory dating back to 1960, the pressure to break the long-standing title drought is significant. However, Klinsmann believes the team's successive wins in close matches have bolstered their collective confidence.

Reflecting on the tournament's progression, Klinsmann highlighted the growing support from the country and the positive momentum building around the team as they advance through the stages. The semifinal will mark the second encounter between South Korea and Jordan in this tournament, following a 2-2 draw in the group stage that saw South Korea salvage a point through a last-minute own goal.

South Korea will face the challenge of playing without key defender Kim Min-jae, sidelined due to accumulated yellow cards. Klinsmann emphasized the need for a collective effort to compensate for the absence of the Bayern Munich center back, acknowledging the threat posed by Jordan's individual talents. As the team prepares for the semifinal, Klinsmann's focus remains solely on the immediate task, not yet entertaining thoughts of the final, where the host nation Qatar is set to face Iran in the other semifinal match.

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