With the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar on the horizon, Ange Postecoglou and Tottenham Hotspur risk losing Son Heung-min for about a month in 2024.
Originally scheduled to take place in China this summer, the competition was canceled in May 2022 because of the country’s Covid-19 crisis. Following the announcement in October that the tournament would instead be held in Qatar, the dates for the 24-team competition were published in early April, with the Asian Cup now beginning on Friday, January 12, and concluding on Saturday, February 10.
South Korea has been assigned to Group E, which includes Malaysia, Jordan, and Bahrain. On Monday, January 15, they will face Bahrain at Hassim bin Hamad Stadium.
Suppose Tottenham makes it to the final four of the latter competition. In that case, Son may be unavailable for the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, January 10, if South Korea wants him at their camp in the days preceding the tournament. Tottenham will then travel to Manchester United on either the 13th or 20th of January, as the fixtures will be split over two weekends to accommodate the players’ mid-season holiday.
More cup games await Spurs if they remain in the domestic tournaments, as the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg is scheduled for Wednesday, January 24, followed by the fourth round of the FA Cup three days later. If South Korea is eliminated from the group stage early, Son might return in time to face Brentford on Tuesday, January 30.
Klinsmann’s team, on the other hand, is likely to advance and reach the tournament’s later stages. Son will also miss Tottenham’s away trip to Everton on Saturday, February 3 and the home game against Brighton & Hove Albion one week later if South Korea advances to the final. While the number of games Son might potentially miss is unknown at the moment due on how Tottenham and South Korea perform, the worst-case scenario is that he misses seven.
Following his release for the Asian Games in August and September, which resulted in him missing three Premier League games for Tottenham, both parties agreed that he would miss the first two group games of the Asian Cup. South Korea fell 1-0 against eventual winners Qatar in their final group match, and Son was unable to help them go beyond the quarter-finals.
10/01 – Carabao Cup semi-final first leg
13/01 or 20/01 – Manchester United (A)
24/01 – Carabao Cup semi-final second leg
27/01 – Emirates FA Cup round four
30/01 – Brentford (H)
03/02 – Everton (A)
10/02 – Brighton & Hove Albion (H)
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