Kim Eun-joong, who challenges ‘Again 2019’, will have his first confrontation with Europe’s strong France. Korea, led by coach Kim Eun-joong, will play the first leg of the World Cup group stage against France at the 2023 FIFA U-20 held at the Mendoza Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina on the 23rd (Korean time). Korea is in Group F along with France, Honduras and Gambia.
France is currently one of the strongest teams in world football. The FIFA ranking is second after Argentina, 25 steps higher than South Korea, which is ranked 27th. Recently, they advanced to the finals of the Adult World Cup twice in a row and recorded one championship and runner-up respectively. In the U-20 World Cup, Paul Pogba (Juventus) and others played an active role in Turkey in 2013, and once won the championship.
However, surprisingly, in the U-20 competition, there were only two times, in 2011 (4th place) and 2013, when it recorded more than the semifinals, so it recorded a rather disappointing result compared to the reputation of its own football. First of all, it was only half of Korea (16 times) that only 8 times advanced to the finals. The overall performance of the U-20 World Cup finals was only 13th with a cumulative score of 66 points (20 wins, 6 draws, 9 losses), and Korea, which ranked 12th (71 points, 19 wins, 14 draws, 27 losses), is one step higher than France.
However, it is clear that France, which is considered a strong candidate for the championship in terms of objective history, is a difficult opponent for Korea to deal with. Korea is inferior with 1 win, 3 draws and 4 losses in the previous head-to-head matches between France and the U-20 national team. In the U-20 World Cup, they met twice in the main lineup and both kneeled by two goals.
In the 1997 Malaysian competition, they met in the second group stage match and lost 2-4, conceding two goals each to Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet. At the time, France was a luxurious member, as they grew into legends who led the golden age and the first World Cup victory of the adult national team at the World Cup in France held in their country just a year later. South Korea conceded 3 goals within 10 minutes of the start of the match, leading to 0-4, but had to be satisfied with narrowing the score with multiple goals by Park Jin-seop (Busan I-Park coach) in the second half. The Korean national team was eliminated in the group stage with 1 draw and 2 losses, while France advanced to the quarterfinals.
14 years later, they met in the second round of the group stage at the 2011 Colombia Tournament. France at this time was also a strong team with Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette, and Kalidou Coulibaly (currently the Senegalese national team). However, even after giving up the opening goal to France, Korea performed well enough to compete evenly until the middle of the game with Kim Young-wook (current Daejeon Hanati season)’s free kick equalizer. Alexandre Lacazette allowed consecutive runs and lost again 1-3.
Korea finished 3rd in the group with 1 win and 2 losses, but managed to make it to the round of 16 with a wild card and performed well until the end, losing to Spain in a penalty shoot-out. France showed off its spirit to reach the semifinals for the first time in the tournament, and won the championship in Turkey two years later.
The latest match between Korea and France was a friendly in Spain in March 2019. Even at that time, Korea failed to take revenge by losing 1-3. However, in the final round of the U-20 World Cup, Korea led by Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), who won the Golden Ball, Oh Se-hoon (Shimizu), Lee Ji-sol (Jeju), Lee Kwang-yeon (Gangwon), and Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon), and took second place, the best ever. scored On the other hand, France was caught by the United States in the round of 16 and ended the tournament early.
France in this tournament is dominated by members of the semifinals of the 2022 UEFA U-19 competition last year. There are many players who are consistently active in their home league (Ligue 1), which is one of the top 5 European leagues. He is considered one of the most vigilant players.
Manager Kim Eun-joong evaluated France as a team with excellent physical abilities and excellent personal abilities through the Korea Football Association, and mentioned them as candidates for the championship, but said, “As it is a team with a stronger individual tendency, we will focus on organized cooperative defense and quick switching between offense and defense. I will do it,” he said.
In this U-20 World Cup, 24 countries will advance to the round of 16, including the 1st and 2nd place teams in each group and the top 4 countries in 3rd place in 6 groups. Honduras (2 wins) and Gambia (1 win), which Korea has the upper hand against, are worthy opponents, so if they do well against France in the first match of the group stage, Korea will have an advantage in advancing to the tournament. You can do 2 or 3 rounds.
Korea’s previous U-20 World Cup group stage first leg record was 6 wins, 3 draws and 6 losses. Korea has succeeded in passing through the group stage in all but one tournament (Australia in 1981) where it won the first round. In the first round of history, Korea has often been the main character of an unexpected victory, such as Italy (1981), Argentina (1991), and Germany (2003).
On the other hand, the 1983 Mexico tournament (0-2 against Scotland), which created a legend in the semifinals, and the 2009 Egyptian tournament (0-2 against Cameroon), which reached the quarterfinals. If you look at the competitions where Korea recorded the best performance ever, such as the 2019 Polish tournament (0-1 against Portugal), 스포츠토토 where it won the runner-up, there were many cases where Korea succeeded in passing the group stage by showing their backing even after losing the first game. Due to the nature of the U-20 competition, which has so many variables, the results of the first match against France are important, but the direction of the group stage may change depending on the process and content shown.