Lee Kang-in (22, Mallorca), who participated in the 2019 Poland Under-20 (U-20) World Cup, surprised the world. 18-year-old Lee Kang-in, who showed overwhelming skills and recorded 2 goals and 4 assists (7 games), led the team to the runner-up in the first ever FIFA-sponsored competition in Korean men’s soccer history. Korea lost to Ukraine 1-3 in the final, but Lee Kang-in won the Golden Ball (MVP). At 18 years and 117 days, he was the second-youngest Golden Ball winner of all time. The youngest winner is Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), who led Argentina to the top at the 2005 tournament at the age of 18 years and 8 days. In addition, Diego Maradona (1979), Xavi Hernandez (1999), and Elling Hollan (2019) have grown into superstars through this competition.
This year, the futures of Korean soccer who dream of becoming the ‘second Lee Kang-in’ threw their ballots into the U-20 World Cup. The Korean U-20 national team (21 players), led by coach Kim Eun-joong, will challenge to advance to the semifinals for the second consecutive time at the 2023 U-20 World Cup held in Argentina. The tournament will start on the 21st and run until June 12th in four Argentinian cities. The 24 teams are divided into 6 groups of 4 teams, and after the group stage, 16 teams, including 12 teams in first and second place in each group and 4 teams with good grades among the 6 teams in each group, will determine the winner in a tournament. The biennial U-20 World Cup will be held for the first time in four years this year as the 2021 tournament was canceled due to Corona 19. It was originally scheduled to be held in Indonesia, but FIFA withdrew the right to host the event as Muslims protesting the entry of Israel, who had passed the European qualifiers, grew louder inside Indonesia. Last month, Argentina was chosen as the new venue.
Kim Eun-joong was placed in Group F along with ‘championship candidates’ France, Honduras and Gambia. All are formidable opponents. On the 23rd at 3 am, we will play the first leg of the group stage against France. They will face Honduras at 6 am on the 26th and Gambia at 6 am on the 29th to advance to the round of 16. All three group stage matches will be held at Malvinas Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina. Korea’s runner-up in the last tournament, the 2019 tournament, is the best ever. Korea, which had planned training in line with Indonesia’s climate and time difference, went through twists and turns to completely revise the plan when the venue suddenly changed. Argentina has the opposite season to Korea, so it is now early winter. 안전놀이터 There is also a time difference of 12 hours.
Kim Eun-joong also has several promising players with the talents of next-generation stars. Seongnam FC (second division) central defender Kim Ji-soo is the representative runner. Kim Ji-soo, who played 20 K-League games, registered as a semi-professional player for the first time in Seongnam last year. In the last 12th round, he also set a record for the youngest (17 years and 140 days) in the first division in Suwon Samsung. With a tall stature of 1m92cm, he has strong air supremacy and physical struggle. He has recently attracted interest from English Premier League (EPL) Brentford. In attack, FC Seoul (Part 1) winger Kang Seong-jin stands out. He played 34 games (1 goal and 4 assists) as the undisputed main striker last year. In July of last year, he was selected for the adult national team and scored his debut goal and the second goal in the national competition (A match) in the second match of the East Asian Cup against Hong Kong. Manager Kim Eun-joong expressed his determination, saying, “I will play fast football while pressing the opponent from the attacking side. First of all, I will focus on passing the group stage.”