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Ghana are preparing for South Korea after losing their World Cup opener

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) β€” Ghana coach Otto Addo has been impressed with Son Heung-min since he coached the South Korean forward at the youth level.

The two will meet on Monday when Ghana take on South Korea in a World Cup Group H match at Qatar’s Education City Stadium.

Ato was working at German side Hamburg when he first met Son, whom he recommended for the club’s first team.

β€œHe is very, very disciplined. So he became so good because he worked hard for it. That’s what I was hoping for and I expected it,” Addo said before the match on Sunday.

Ado added with a smile, “I always wish him the best, except for tomorrow.”

Son and the South Koreans challenged Uruguay in a tough Group H match, ending in a 0-0 draw.

“Offensively, we had a very good game,” South Korea coach Paulo Bento said through a translator. “We are a brave team, we are not afraid of opponents.”

The son epitomized that bravery by donning a mask to protect his shattered left eye socket and cheering on fans wearing Batman masks. He was injured on November 2 in a Champions League match against Marseille, limiting his training ahead of the World Cup.

Addo, who played for Ghana, is one of five African coaches leading five African teams at the World Cup in Qatar. He joined Righaber Song of Cameroon, Aliou Cisse of Senegal, Walid Regraghi of Morocco and Tunisia head coach Jalel Kadri.

β€œI think this is a very big step for Africa. In previous years, there were not many coaches, so the big task for Africa is to develop more coaches – not only for African teams, but also for other teams, teams in Europe, and I think the world lacks that, Addo said.

Ghana open their match against South Korea on Tuesday after a 3-2 loss to Portugal in their opener. All five African teams went winless in their opening group stage matches, but Tunisia bounced back with a win over Qatar in the second game.

The Black Stars are the youngest team at the World Cup with an average age of 24 years and 4 months. So it was encouraging that they held their own against Portugal and star player Cristiano Ronaldo, whose 65th-minute penalty made him the first male player to score at five World Cups.

Addo called the penalty a “special gift from the referee” afterwards, but he wanted to go further on Sunday.

“It’s in the past,” he said. “He is not there. It’s all over. We can’t change that.”

Veteran captain Andre Ayew and Osman Bukary scored for Ghana against Portugal. Ayew was also part of the Ghana squad that reached the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup. Ghana was eliminated in the group stage of the tournament in 2014 and did not qualify for Russia in 2018.

With the win, Portugal topped Group H and advanced to the second round of group stage matches. Ghana sit at the bottom of the table and will be eliminated if they lose to South Korea.

South Korea played at the World Cup for the sixth time in a row. The team lost to Turkey in the third-place match as co-hosts of the 2002 World Cup.

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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