The best start, a sign of things to come! South Korea’s Kim Eun-Joong-ho has stunned soccer fans around the world. The team defeated France, the favorite to win the tournament, with intelligent play and set the stage for ‘Again in 2019’ 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) 먹튀검증 scoring the final goal.
It’s been six years since South Korea won their first group game at the U-20 World Cup (3-0 against Guinea in 2017) and the first time they’ve 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, bringing the all-time series to 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, Gambia and Honduras are fighting 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 group stage with 24 nations divided into six groups of four teams. The top four teams from the first, second, and third place finishers in each group 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.