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(LEAD) (World Cup) Key defender skips training to nurse minor calf injury

23:53 November 25, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with details, photos; CORRECTS info in para 5)
By Yoo Jee-ho

DOHA, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korean center back Kim Min-jae missed the team's training session on Friday to nurse a right calf injury.

An official with the Korea Football Association (KFA) insisted that Kim's injury, which he picked up during a scoreless draw with Uruguay Thursday, was not serious.

Kim Min-jae of South Korea stays on the ground in pain during the team's Group H match against Uruguay at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 24, 2022. (Yonhap)

"We decided it'd be better for him to get treatment and rest," the official told reporters at Al Egla Training Site in Doha. "It's not serious at all, but he's not going to train with the team today."

Kim was nicked up after slipping and falling on the pitch trying to chase down Darwin Nunez. Kim is the best defender for South Korea and an absence of any length for the Napoli star could spell doom for South Korea.

Kim Min-jae of South Korea (R) tries to hold off Darwin Nunez of Uruguay during the countries' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 24, 2022. (Yonhap)

For Friday's session, the 11 starters from Thursday's match did 30 minutes of recovery work and returned to the team hotel, while the rest of the 26-man squad trained for a little over an hour.

South Korean midfielder Hwang Hee-chan (L) prepares for a training session for the FIFA World Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Nov. 25, 2022. (Yonhap)

Winger Hwang Hee-chan was not available Thursday due to hamstring issues, but he was set to participate in Friday's session.

Hwang ran the length of the practice field a few times to test his injured left hamstring, though not at full speed.

South Korea's next Group H match at the ongoing FIFA World Cup is against Ghana on Monday.

Portugal sit atop the group with three points following their 3-2 victory over Ghana on Thursday, two points ahead of South Korea and Uruguay.

South Korean players Son Heung-min (L) and Kim Young-gwon ride stationary bicycles during a training session for the FIFA World Cup at Al Egla Training Site in Doha on Nov. 25, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

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