Kim Eun-Joong got South Korea off to a flying start at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023, beating heavy favorites France in their first match.
The South Korean U-20 team, led by head coach Kim Eun-jung, defeated France 2-1 in their Group F opener at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Wednesday (Sept. 23). Captain Lee Seung-won (Gangwon) scored the opening goal and set up Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon) for the winning goal.
This is the first time Korea has defeated France, a world powerhouse, at the U-20 World Cup. France won the tournament in 2013 and has reached the round of 16 six times. With the win, South Korea improved to 2 wins, 3 draws, and 4 losses in the all-time series between France and the U-20 national teams.
In the first 15 minutes of the match, France had 75% of the ball possession and the pressure was intense. It was “Captain” Lee Seung-won who broke the ice. In the 22nd minute, Lee received a ball from Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense) who broke through the left side of the midfield and had a one-on-one chance with the keeper. Lee calmly slotted the ball into the left side of the goal to give Korea the lead.
France’s offense intensified in the second half. In the ninth minute of the second half, Wilson Audaubert (Troyes), who was considered the No. 1 target of the alert, hit a shot that missed the right side of the goal and swept across his chest. After surviving the crisis, Korea regained momentum when Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon Commerce) scored in the 19th minute of the second half. Lee headed home a free-kick cross from Lee Seung-won to split the net.
Before the joy of the extra goal could wear off, there was a change. In the 21st minute of the second half, Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon Commerce) and opposing striker Malamine Efekele collided, and the referee called a foul on Kim Jun-hong and showed a yellow card. Even on the slow screen, it looked like the two players made contact at almost the same time, but in the end, France was awarded a penalty kick and conceded a goal. Korea then defended their lead with tenacious defense and finished the game with a 2-1 victory. 안전놀이터
After the game, Coach Kim said, “Since France was the favorite, we prepared for a counterattack by defending in our own way, and the players followed the tactics well.” “France may be better than us in terms of physical condition and individual skills, but the fact that we played organized with 11 players instead of one-on-one was the driving force behind our victory.”
The U-20 World Cup features 24 teams divided into six groups of four nations, with the first and second place finishers in each group and the four third place finishers advancing to the round of 16. South Korea, which topped its group with the win, will play Honduras in the second round on Saturday. Their second-round opponent, Honduras, lost 1-2 to The Gambia earlier in the day, tied with France with one loss.