South Korea’s Kim Eun-Joong-ho, who is challenging for ‘Again 2019,’ has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Under-20 World Cup 2023 after defeating ‘South American veterans’ Ecuador.
Kim Eun-jung’s U-20 team defeated Ecuador 3-2 in the round of 16 at the Santiago del Estero Stadium in Argentina on Sunday (Feb. 2), thanks to consecutive goals from Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon), Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon) and Choi Seok-hyun (Dankook University).
With one win, two draws and five points from the group stage, South Korea finished second in Group F and advanced to the Round of 16 for the second consecutive time after the 2019 tournament in Poland. At the 2019 tournament, they finished as runners-up, their best result in a FIFA-organized tournament.
In the quarterfinals, South Korea will face Nigeria, the ‘powerhouse of African soccer’. Nigeria is a powerhouse, having knocked out hosts Argentina in the round of 16. They also finished as runners-up in the 1989 and 2005 tournaments. The quarterfinal match between South Korea and Nigeria will take place at 2:30 a.m. on May 5 at Santiago del Estero Stadium.
South Korea, who used a number of backups in their third group game against the Gambia, which was played with the round of 16 already secured, will bring out their best lineup again today.
The South Korean formation was 4-2-3-1. It featured target man Lee Young-joon up front, backed by Bae Jun-ho, Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense), and Lee Seung-won (Gangwon) in the second line.
Kang Sang-yoon (Jeonbuk) and Park Hyun-bin (Incheon) were in charge of the midfield, while Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk), Kim Ji-soo (Seongnam), Choi Seok-hyun, and Choi Ye-hoon (Busan) formed the back line. Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon) was in goal.
South Korea shook the Ecuadorian defense from the start. The first goal came in the 11th minute. Bae Jun-ho beat one defender near the penalty box and sent a roving pass to Lee Young-joon in the box, who trapped the ball with his chest and connected with a right-footed volley that rattled the net.
The second goal came just eight minutes later. Bae Joon-ho, who assisted Lee Young-joon’s goal earlier in the match, scored himself this time. After receiving a pass from Park Chang-woo on the right flank, Bae Jun-ho beat one defender with an exquisite touch. Even with the Ecuadorian goalkeeper out in front of him, Bae Jun-ho didn’t panic and changed direction to calmly finish the goal. Bae was responsible for one goal and one assist in the first half alone.
Down 2-0, South Korea conceded a goal in the 36th minute on a dubious penalty kick. There was light physical contact between Kendry Paes and Park Chang-woo near the left side of the Korean penalty box. Paes went down and referee O’Shane Nation, a Jamaican, awarded a penalty kick.
The contact was not rough enough to warrant a penalty. The VAR room also asked the referee to check the video himself. After the on-field review, the referee did not change his decision. Ecuadorian striker Justin Cuero stepped up to the penalty spot and converted, giving South Korea their first goal.
With eight minutes of first-half stoppage time, South Korea was able to hold off a sustained Ecuadorian attack to end the half with a one-goal lead.
In the second half, South Korea continued their offense. Korea’s third goal came just three minutes into the second half. From a corner kick, Lee Seung-won’s kick was met by defender Choi Seok-hyun, who rushed forward and placed it squarely on the head. The Ecuadorian goalkeeper came out at the same time, but Choi’s header was quicker. 스포츠토토
With a two-goal deficit, Ecuador went on the offensive, dropping defenders and adding more attackers. Korea also made substitutions to strengthen their defense and put more weight on the counterattack.
After effectively blocking Ecuador’s attacks, South Korea conceded a goal through Sebastian Gonzalez in the 39th minute of the second half. However, the Koreans defended their lead for the remainder of the match.
As the final whistle blew, Kim Eun-joong, the coaching staff, and the players hugged each other in celebration.