Nat'l team footballer trains on wedding day, puts off honeymoon for World Cup qualification

Su Jin Jang, May 31, 2017, 9:39 a.m.


South Korean football defender Kim Jin-su is scheduled to marry his girlfriend of 18 months on Wednesday.

So what did the 24-year-old do for preparation? He trained for two hours with the rest of the national team in the morning.

"After the wedding ceremony today, I'll be back here for training tomorrow," Kim told reporters at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, north of Seoul, where South Korean internationals are gearing up for a World Cup qualifier against Qatar in Doha on June 13.

It's a crucial match for the underachieving South Koreans, who are holding on to second place in Group A in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. With 13 points, South Korea trail Iran by four and sit just one above Uzbekistan with three matches to play. Only the top two nations will earn automatic berths, while the third-place team will have to go through playoffs.

In fact, Kim, fullback for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, deems the qualifying tournament so critical that he has even put off his honeymoon until after it's all over in September.

Kim reported to the camp on Monday, and has been living out of a suitcase near the NFC while his fiance has been busy handling the logistics of the ceremony. And to fit Kim's training schedule, the couple moved up their ceremony from Thursday to Wednesday.

The national team will depart for the Middle East on June 3.

Kim said head coach Uli Stielike wanted to excuse him from practice Thursday, but he volunteered to be with the rest of the team.

"Even my fiance understands the importance of the match against Qatar," Kim said. "And my in-laws were also very understanding. I feel bad for my fiance. She's been doing everything. I'll have to be a good husband."

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