South Korea coasted to a 3-1 win over a plucky Vietnam side in Indonesia on Wednesday and took a giant step towards star player Son Heung-min achieving his aim of being pardoned military service back home if they land the Asian Games gold medal.
South Korea's Son Heung-min celebrates scoring at the World Cup at Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia - June 27, 2018. Kim is very good tactically and is considered the Alex Ferguson of the K League.
South Korean law states that all men must complete 21 months of military service before they reach the age of 28, but those who win a medal at the Olympics or win gold at the Asian Games are exempt from this service.
After Wednesday's game, Son himself said: "We are so close to gold". South Korea later tied the game and scored late in the extra time to advance to the semifinals.
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"I've missed already three or four weeks and we have the global break before I will be back", he said.
"I really love my country, but now I'm head coach of the Vietnamese national team", he said.
The country did have success, however, in the women's under-52kg final as Natsumi Tsunoda overcame South Korea's Park Dasol by ippon.
Son played in Tottenham's season opener against Newcastle this month before joining up with his South Korean team-mates.
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Son was a substitute in Tottenham's first game of the Premier League campaign but has missed most of the games to be part of the Asian Games.
At the AFC U23 Championship held in China in January, Vietnam lost to South Korea 2-1 in the group stages.
Hwang Ui-jo, the leading scorer at the Asian Games, doubled Korea's lead in the 27th minute.
'It was a hard game, ' said Son, who was removed as a precaution after 72 minutes while on a booking.
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All that stands between South Korea and the gold medal is a win over fierce rivals Japan and while Son was reluctant to talk too much about the prospect of winning a military exemption he was in no doubt as to the importance of rounding out the tournament with the victory. "But I'm sure we'll develop and learn from this experience".