Korea’s Kim Eun-Joong-ho received the news that they have qualified for the round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 ahead of their fateful final group game against Gambia.
Japan, who are not in the same group, qualified after coming from behind to beat Israel 2-1 in their Group C match at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Monday (Aug. 28).
It was Japan’s second straight come-from-behind loss and dropped them to third place in the group with one win, two losses, and three points.
A total of 24 teams will compete in the U-20 World Cup, with the top two teams from each of the six groups and the top four from the third place finishers advancing to the round of 16.
Currently, Group B third-place Slovakia and Group C third-place Japan are tied on three points.
South Korea, which beat France and drew with Honduras, has four points. Depending on the Gambia result, they could drop to third place in the group, but they are no worse off than Slovakia and Japan.
For this reason, Kim Eun-Joong-ho’s team has reached the round of 16 for the third consecutive tournament, following the 2017 and 2019 tournaments.
After reaching the round of 16 at their home tournament in 2017, South Korea finished as runners-up at the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland, their first-ever final under Lee’s leadership.
South Korea opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over powerhouse France in their first game. In their second game against Honduras, they fought back from two goals down to earn a valuable point.
The de facto group winner against Gambia, who are unbeaten in two games, will be decided in Mendoza on Sept. 29. 안전놀이터
Meanwhile, Japan’s chances of advancing to the round of 16 have intensified. With all of the Group A through D matches completed, Japan sits in fourth place out of three. The number of round of 16 cases is complicated. Group E’s Uruguay-Tunisia match must end with either a four-point win for Uruguay (3 points) or a five-point win for Tunisia (3 points), while Group F’s Honduras (1 point) and France (0 points) must tie. It’s only when you get down to the fair play points that a miracle is possible. Both the Japan U-20s and Japanese media have acknowledged that elimination is a real possibility.