By Yoo Jee-ho
DOHA, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Wednesday held their final training session before their first group stage match against Uruguay, with a nicked-up winger still unable to join the rest of his teammates.
Head coach Paulo Bento ran the official "Match Day-1" training session at Al Egla Training Site in Doha Wednesday morning, with only the first 15 minutes of the one-hour session open to the media. South Korea will begin Group H play against Uruguay at 4 p.m. Thursday at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha, or 10 p.m. Thursday in South Korea.
Captain Son Heung-min was back out there in his protective mask, as he is recovering from multiple facial fractures. His match fitness remains a concern but all signs point to the Tottenham Hotspur talisman being available in some capacity against Uruguay.
While Son has been making progress in his recovery, Wolverhampton Wanderers attacker Hwang Hee-chan was not available during the open portion of Wednesday's session, throwing his status for the Uruguay match into further doubt.
Hwang, who has been dealing with hamstring problems, took the field with the rest of the team in the beginning but went back inside to do some individual workouts. Hwang returned to the field after about 15 minutes, by which time the session was closed to the media.
South Korea, ranked 24th, will be chasing their third trip to the knockouts, after reaching the semifinals in 2002 and the round of 16 in 2010. After Uruguay (No. 14), Ghana (No. 61) and Portugal (No. 9) will be up next for the Taegeuk Warriors.