Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon Sangmu) put on the goalkeeping gloves in his first World Cup match and proved his No. 1 status.
Kim Eun-joong’s South Korea Under-20 football team defeated France 2-1 in their first match of Group F at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Wednesday (June 23).
South Korea was drawn in the same group as France, Honduras and The Gambia. With France being the toughest opponent, the team was ready for the first game. France, whose players are mostly of African descent, caught Korea off guard with their physicality and resilience.
Coach Kim Eun-joong focused on defense. Although France’s offense is good, it is more individual than organized, so we expected to have chances if we play a stable game. To that end, we worked on our defensive organization and focused on quick offensive and defensive transition drills.
As planned, France took the early lead. The individual skills and speed of Antoine Joubert and Alain Birginius, who led the French attack, were clearly sharp. As a result, Korea hunkered down and looked for chances. Sitting back, it was inevitable that they would concede shots on goal. In the end, it was a strategy that could only work if Kim Jun-hong made saves.
Kim was more than up to the task. Along with a physical defense, he held France to one goal. It was a penalty kick that came from a call that was hard to take. In the 21st minute of the second half, Kim Joon-hong, who had done well to stop a flurry of shots from France, collided with striker Malamine Efekele while blocking a cross.
He was so shocked that he couldn’t get up for a while. When he got up, the referee showed him a yellow card and awarded France a penalty kick. Even though the collision occurred in the penalty box and possession of the ball was undetermined, the referee declared a foul on Kim Junghong.
In the end, Korea conceded a penalty kick to France, allowing them to catch up. Goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong was still not feeling well and went back to the ground. The bench scrambled to bring on Moon Hyun-ho (Chungnam Asan) as a substitute goalkeeper. 안전놀이터
But Kim Jun-hong was up to the task. The shock hadn’t worn off and the call was unwavering. In the remaining minutes, France’s offense intensified, but Kim made the save. He reliably caught the opponent’s mid-range shot and persevered.
Kim Jun-hong’s save kept South Korea in the game. Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC) scored the first goal in the 22nd minute on a quick counterattack, and Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon Sangmu) scored the final goal in the 19th minute to give Korea a 2-1 victory. With the green light to advance to the round of 16, Kim Eun-jung-ho will play the second leg against Honduras on June 26.