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Son Heung-min: Tottenham star avoids national service following Asian Cup gold

Son Heung-min: Tottenham star avoids national service following Asian Cup gold

Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min was beaming from ear to ear after winning an exemption from nearly two years of military service by leading South Korea to Asian Games gold on Saturday.

Korean captain Son, substituted in the dying seconds to buy precious time, sprinted from the bench to embrace goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo, sobbing tears of joy as they rolled on the turf together. "We can win a gold medal against South Korea if we take them head-on with all our strength".

"Tottenham have supported me so much and that means a lot to me", he said.

"I am really really, really grateful to them (supporters)".

The tension built up as the game remained goalless after 90 minutes, forcing extra-time.

It was 2-0 when Son won a free-kick before floating it over to Hwang Hee-chan, who headed home.




South Korea could have been three goals up by half-time, however, with Lee Jin-hyun blazing just over from distance and Son bundled over in the box for what replays suggested was a clear penalty.

The win means that a calculated gamble by his employers, Tottenham Hotspur, has paid off. Spurs released their increasingly influential forward, allowing him to miss their opening four matches of the season, so that he could lead his country to gold in Indonesia and spare himself the mandatory military service he nearly certainly would have had to return home for in the coming months. "I would have felt very sorry if I didn't win the gold medal", he added.

"I really want to say thank you to the coach and the fans of Spurs". We worked so hard.

If South Korea lose, Son, who signed a new five-year contract in North London this summer, would be required to spend 21 months on military service for his country when he turns 28.

The same thing happened in the 2014 tournament, though Son, playing for Bayer Leverkusen at the time, was not released by his club.

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