Son Heung-Min: South Korea's defeat my fault for not scoring
Son Heung-Min said he was disappointed with his performance in South Korea's 1-0 loss to Sweden in the teams' World Cup opener on Monday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
South Korea were limited in their scoring chances as they remain winless in their last five World Cup games dating to 2010, and Son, the Tottenham forward, said that burden falls on him.
"I'm still disappointed about my performance and feel very, very sorry for my teammates because if we don't score, it's my fault, because I need to take the responsibility," Son said.
Asked if it is harder to deal with that responsibility while playing for South Korea than it is with Tottenham, he said the situations are not the same.
"Of course it is a bit different, because when I play at Tottenham, every player is one of the best players," Son said. "Sometimes, when I play for South Korea, I need to give the pass to the other players and sometimes, it is a bit different than Tottenham."
The result means South Korea will have to beat either Mexico in their next game or Germany in their Group F finale to have a chance to advance, and Son admitted he expected tougher tests than what Sweden offered on Monday.
"[Mexico] is a very tough team. I watched the game yesterday and it was a really, really interesting game. Both teams played very well," Son said. "Mexico played very fast, very good counter-attack and they surprised me.
"I think it'll be tougher than today against [those] two teams.We need to be ready ... mentally we need to be there. In football you never know.
"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Germany for me is one of the favorite teams and can win the World Cup ... I was surprised of course [by Mexico's victory], but still for me Germany is one of the best teams in the world."
Asked about his side's chances of advancing, Son said: "I don't know. It's a difficult question. I think we just defended well and we feel if we counter better we can score goals. But it's football and the decision was a penalty, of course it's disappointing. Football sometimes goes up and down and we need to accept the result."
South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong said his players were intimidated by the height of the Swedish players.
"We really wanted to win this game. That was the attitude from the players coming into the match," Shin told a news conference. "Following the first half we knew that could adjust to their height so we had prepared well in that way, players did as we had planned but I think psychologically they were a little concerned by the height of the Swedes.
"Other teams will have difficulties with the Swedes who will be threatening ... at this World Cup because of their height."
South Korea started off brightly with Hwang Hee-chan causing problems down the right but Son was largely anonymous and it was not until seven minutes after the break that the Red Devils created a chance worth the name.
"I think ... we became too subdued," Shin added. "That was probably why the Swedish keeper became bored."
The match was decided in the 63rd minute when Kim Min-woo, an early substitute, brought down Swedish Viktor Claesson and the penalty was awarded after a VAR review.
"We could say it was regrettable but he was tackled between his legs," Shin said. "We do agree that it was a good call."
ESPN FC's Tom Marshall contributed to this report. Information from Reuters was used in this report.