Kim Eun-Joong-ho sinks ‘giant ship France’ in silly soccer
The South Korean Under-20 soccer team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, 44, got off to a strong start at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023. They faced a tough challenge in their first match against France, a European powerhouse, but they pulled off an upset. The team, which finished as runners-up at the 2019 tournament in Poland with ‘Golden Boy’ Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), started the journey to make history four years later in Argentina with a bang.
The national team defeated France 2-1 in the first match of the tournament’s Group F on Wednesday at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina. South Korea is tied for first place in Group F with Gambia, who defeated Honduras 2-1 earlier in the day. The 24-team tournament is divided into six groups of four nations, with the first and second place finishers in each group, as well as the third place finishers (four out of six) qualifying for the round of 16. With a win over France, the tournament’s “favorite,” South Korea has improved its chances of advancing to the round of 16 by topping its group. The team will face Honduras on June 26 in their second group game.
This is the first time South Korea has defeated the French giants at the U-20 World Cup in two or three tournaments. The team had previously lost to France in the group stage of the U-20 stage in both 1997 and 2011.
France dominated possession on the day, winning 57% of the ball. However, South Korea showed off their ‘silly soccer’. They nullified France’s attack with a sticky defense, attacked the opponent’s backline with counterattacks, and showed great concentration to convert crucial chances.
Spearheading the offense was “Captain” Lee Seung-won (Gangwon), who had one goal and one assist on the day. The first goal came in the 22nd minute. After receiving the ball from Kang Sung-jin on the counterattack, Kim Yong-hak stripped his opponent and drove through midfield before slipping a precise pass to Lee Seung-won, who was rushing into the box. Faced with a one-on-one situation with the keeper, Lee remained calm and rattled the left side of the net. It was a perfect counterattack, completed in just 12 seconds with only two connections in our own half.
Lee Seung-won then provided an assist in the 19th minute, as his free-kick cross from the left was finished by Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon) with a deflected header to give Korea a 2-0 lead.
However, in the 25th minute of the second half, the Koreans conceded a goal after a questionable penalty kick decision by the referee. Goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon), who was trying to punch away an opponent’s cross, was knocked down by the shoulder of an onrushing attacker, which the referee ruled as a foul on Kim Jun-hong. Even though the ball went out of his hands and he was hit in the face, it was a difficult call to understand as a penalty kick was awarded.
However,메이저놀이터 Kim Jun-hong was shown a yellow card and France was awarded a penalty kick. Despite these decisions, the Korean national team continued to defend against the French offense until the end. The defense also shined, including Kim Jun-hong, who did not concede a field goal, and Kim Ji-soo (Seongnam), who played a physical defense.
After the game, Lee Seung-won said, “I will only enjoy the joy of victory until today. We will prepare well for the remaining matches against Honduras and Gambia in our colors and try to show a good performance.” “Defensively, we prepared a counterattack, and the players followed it well,” said Kim Eun-joong, “We were able to win because the 11 players played well and organized.”