At the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the South Korean national team was led by ‘golden boy’ Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), who finished as runners-up. The “soccer prodigy” has since gone on to excel in Spain and become a mainstay in the South Korean senior national team. Four years later, the 2023 U-20 World Cup was held in Argentina. The ‘Young Guns’ once again excelled, raising hopes for a bright future for Korean soccer. South Korea defeated France, a traditional European powerhouse, and took the first step toward “Again in 2019.

The South Korean U-20 team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, earned a 2-1 victory over France in their first Group F match of the tournament at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on March 23. Captain Lee Seung-won (Gangwon) scored the opening goal and delivered the winning goal, while Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon) scored the final goal. South Korea topped their group (3 points) and advanced to the Round of 16. In the 24-team tournament, which is divided into six groups of four nations, the first and second place finishers in each group can qualify for the round of 16 as well as the third place finisher (four of the six third place finishers). South Korea will take on Honduras in the second round on June 26 at 6 a.m. With France the favorite in the group, South Korea has a good chance of advancing to the round of 16 with a first-place finish.토토사이트

It’s been six years since South Korea won their first group game at the U-20 World Cup since 2017 (3-0 win over Guinea). At the 2019 tournament in Poland, South Korea went down 0-1 to Portugal in the first leg but battled back from that deficit to finish as runners-up, their best-ever finish. Prior to that, they had finished fourth (1983), three quarterfinals (1991, 2009, 2013) and 16th (2003, 2011, 2017). France is a perennial favorite, having won the tournament once (2013) and finished fourth (2011), and twice in the quarterfinals (1997, 2001) and round of 16 (2017, 2019). This is the first time South Korea has defeated the world champions. They previously lost 2-4 in Malaysia in 1997 and 1-3 in Colombia in 2011.

It was France who dominated the game. France dominated possession on the day, winning 57% of the ball. In the first 15 minutes, France had 75% possession.

South Korea showed off their ‘silly soccer’. They locked down the defense and then attacked on the counterattack, looking for space behind the opponent. After holding off the French offense, Korea took the lead in the 22nd minute with a goal from “Captain” Lee Seung-won on a counterattack. After receiving the ball from Kang Sung-jin, Kim Yong-hak beat one opponent and used his quick feet to break through the left side of the midfield before passing to Lee Seung-won, who was rushing into the box. Facing a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper, Lee calmly fired a shot to the left side of the goal. South Korea continued to be pushed around by France, allowing several shots on goal, but were unable to capitalize.

France’s offense intensified in the second half. In the ninth minute, Martine Adeline’s shot from the front of the goal area was blocked by several Korean defenders in a physical defense, and Wilson Odobe’s subsequent strong shot went just wide to the right of the post. South Korea brought on Lee Ji-han (Freiburg) and Hwang In-taek (Eland) for Kim Yong-hak and Bae Seo-joon in the 14th minute of the second half to try and change the momentum.

The Koreans finally found the back of the net in the 19th minute. Lee Seung-won sent in a free-kick cross from the left, and Lee Young-joon rose high to finish with a deflected header. However, the euphoria was dampened by the referee’s dubious penalty decision. Kim Jun-hong, who was trying to punch in an opponent’s cross, was brought down by the shoulder of Malamine Efekele, who was charging for a header. As the cross went out of his reach, the referee decided that Kim had fouled Efekele and showed him a yellow card, giving France a penalty kick. In the 25th minute of the second half, Alain Birginius, who took the kick, shot to the left side of the goal to give France the lead. From then on, South Korea held off the French offense with a steadfast defense and eventually won the match without conceding a goal.

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