Son Heung-min 'upset' over failing to live up to words against Iran

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- Following South Korea's loss to Iran in a World Cup qualifier, national team forward Son Heung-min said Wednesday he was mad at himself for having failed to live up to his words.

South Korea was blanked by Iran 1-0 on Tuesday in the teams' last qualification match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Despite the loss, South Korea still clinched one of the four automatic berths at the tournament and made it to the World Cup for the eighth consecutive occasion.

Tempers flared between the continental rivals in the buildup to the match, with the coaches, Choi Kang-hee for South Korea and Carlos Queiroz for Iran, trading verbal salvos.

Son also got into the fray and vowed to make the Iranian captain, Javad Nekounam, shed "tears of blood" and to beat the Middle East country by three to four goals.

At a corporate event held in Seoul Wednesday, Son apologized for having been so careless with his words and said his pride also took a beating.

"I should have let my action do the talking," he said. "We could have won if we had only scored the first goal. It was disappointing."

Son said South Korea will have to "improve in every facet of the game" to perform well at the World Cup.

"We have one year to go, and I believe we can do well as long as we prepare hard," he said. "We must have better concentration on defense and score more goals. It's also important that every player comes together as one on the pitch."

Against Iran, the dynamic 20-year-old made his second straight start for South Korea but displayed little of the offensive flair that helped him score 12 goals for Hamburger SV in Germany's Bundesliga last season. Bayer Leverkusen, another Bundesliga side, won the sweepstakes for the youngster and signed him to a five-year contract.

Asked about his goals for the next season with the new club, Son said he has learned his lesson from his experience with Iran and didn't want to get ahead of himself.

"I'd like to score as often as I can, but I won't get too greedy," he said. "I've had a great learning experience over the three years with Hamburger SV. The preseason is around the corner, and I will try to make quick adjustments to the new club."

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