The best start, a sign of things to come! South Korea’s Kim Eun-Joong-ho stunned soccer fans around the world. The South Korean team defeated France, the favorite to win the tournament, with intelligent play and signaled the start of their ‘Again in 2019’ campaign at the U-20 World Cup.
The South Korean U-20 team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, defeated France 2-1 in the first match of Group F of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup at the Malvinas Argentinas Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina, on the morning of the 23rd (KST), thanks to a solid organization and a strategy of ‘defending first and then counterattacking’, with Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC) scoring the opening goal and Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon Sangmu) scoring the final goal.
It is the first time in six years that South Korea has won its first group game at the U-20 World Cup since 2017 (3-0 win over Guinea), and the first time it has beaten France in the tournament. Prior to this tournament, South Korea had lost to France 2-4 in Malaysia in 1997 and 1-3 in Colombia in 2011, but finally won their third meeting to even the all-time series at 1-2.
France, led by coach Landry Chauvin, is a powerhouse at the tournament, having won the title (2013), finished fourth (2011), and reached the quarterfinals (1997, 2001) and round of 16 (2017, 2019), and are the favorites to win the tournament as well as the best team in Group F.
With no obvious star player and a strong organizational strength, Kim Eun Joong-ho has been training for a better result than the runner-up finish in Poland in 2019, where Lee Kang-in played, and is once again hoping to impress in the 2019 edition by catching the ‘big fish’ in the first edition of the tournament. In Group F, South Korea, France, The Gambia and Honduras are competing for a ticket to the Round of 16.
South Korea will play Honduras, who lost 1-2 to the Gambia, in the second round on June 26. South Korea and the Gambia are tied for first place with a 2-1 win in the first leg.
The U-20 World Cup features a total of 24 nations divided into six groups of four teams. The top four teams from the first, second, and third place finishers in each group will advance to the round of 16 tournament to determine the champion. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Indonesia, but FIFA revoked Indonesia’s right to host the tournament just before the event, and the venue was moved to Argentina.
It was a stunning victory that erased all the bad news before the tournament. Kim Eun-joong was unable to call upon the services of Lee Hyun-joo, who plays for Bayern Munich in the German professional soccer league, and forward Sung Jin-young (Korea University), who played at the AFC U-20 Asian Cup earlier this year, due to injuries. In addition, the venue was changed from Indonesia to Argentina just before the tournament, and the main players who played in the K League suffered from a lack of practice. However, they managed to overcome the powerhouse France in the first game and set themselves up for the round of 16.
Coach Kim Eun-joong brought out a 4-2-3-1 formation with a back four. Lee Young-jun (Gimcheon Sangmu) was the frontline striker, with Kang Sung-jin (FC Seoul), Kang Sang-yoon (Jeonbuk Hyundai), and Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense, Portugal) in the second line. The defensive midfielders were Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC) and Lee Chan-wook (Gyeongnam FC), and the back four was Bae Seo-joon (Daejeon Hana Citizen), Kim Ji-su (Seongnam FC), Choi Seok-hyun (Dankook University), and Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk Hyundai). Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon Sangmu) was in goal.
South Korea completely surrendered the initiative to France. The French increased their possession to 75% at one point, making it difficult for South Korean players to hold onto the ball. However, South Korea tightened their defense and took advantage of the few chances they had. The defense, led by Kim Ji-soo and Choi Seok-hyun, didn’t allow their opponents to get into the danger zone, and when they did, they were quick to counterattack.
Eventually, South Korea’s first goal came on a counterattack in the 22nd minute. The ball was cleared off a corner kick by Kang Sung-jin and found Kim Yong-hak near the center circle. Kim Yong-hak used his speed to get past one man before delivering a precise pass to Lee Seung-won, who was rushing into the center. Lee calmly trapped the ball before firing a right-footed shot from the front of the penalty box into the left corner of the goal. It was a textbook example of a quick, accurate counterattack in less than 10 seconds.
After South Korea took the lead, France’s counterattack intensified. Antoine Joussou on the left flank made a breakthrough with a personalized run that made things difficult for the Korean defense. After the goal, South Korea threatened on several occasions, but the French were able to handle the situation well and went into the half with a 1-0 lead.
France continued to attack in the second half, but Korea’s tight defense and goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong’s saves kept them from conceding a goal. Midway through the second half, Kim introduced Hwang In-taek for Bae Seo-joon and Lee Ji-han for Kim Yong-hak in an attempt to turn things around. South Korea took another step forward on a set piece. In the 19th minute, Lee Young-joon scored a sensational header from Lee Seung-won’s free kick at the near post.
With a 2-0 lead, South Korea conceded a penalty kick goal to France’s Alain Birginius in the 25th minute. The circumstances of the penalty kick were not pretty. Goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong was adjudged to have made a late challenge on a French player trying to connect a side cross with a diving header, but it was difficult to call a foul as both players were playing for the ball.토토사이트
Down by a goal, South Korea slammed the back door shut with 10 minutes to go in the second half. In the 29th minute, they dropped their lineup completely, removing forward Kang Sung-jin and bringing on defender Choi Ye-hoon. France pushed hard for an equalizer, but Korea’s players threw themselves into the fight and ended the game without conceding another goal.
Despite being outshot 26%-74%, 6-15 in shots and 1-11 in corner kicks, Korea sank the ‘giant’ France with intelligent play to take a 2-0 lead. France’s late comeback goal was also a penalty kick goal after a controversial goalkeeping foul, making it a near-perfect strategic victory for Kim Joong-ho.