Kim Eun Joong-ho’s “soldier duo” is at the forefront of the big game hunt. They are the most anticipated players of the tournament.
Kim Eun-Joong’s U-20 team won their first Group F match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 2-1 against France at the Mendoza Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina on Wednesday (June 23).
A well-organized and prepared tactical display against the traditional European powerhouse and tournament favorites earned a valuable point. With three points from the first match, South Korea’s chances of advancing to the round of 16 have improved significantly. Depending on the outcome, they could still qualify for the second round as soon as today.
Two soldiers were crucial to the victory: frontline striker Lee Young-joon and goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong (formerly of Gimcheon Commerce).
Lee Young-joon was at the heart of the attack, competing fiercely with the physically strong French center backs up front. He was particularly good at keeping the ball in front of him and linking up with his teammates. His simple touch and accurate passing allowed South Korea to create threatening attacks without having to hold onto the ball for long periods of time.
The icing on the cake was the final goal. In the 19th minute of the second half, Lee Seung-won’s short free kick from the left side was met by Lee Young-joon, who bounced forward and rattled the net with a deflected header. It was a perfectly executed set piece that left the opposing defense and goalkeeper with their eyes wide open.
At the other end, Kim Jun-hong was called into action. He stopped all six of France’s shots on target, including a couple of ‘super saves’ that would have been tantamount to a goal.
For Kim Jun-hong, the game could have been a nightmare. In the 21st minute of the second half, Kim flew out to block a cross and collided with French forward Malamine Efekele. The cross was so fast that neither player could get a proper touch on the ball. The ball went straight to the other side. However, Colombian referee John Ospina decided to show a yellow card to Kim Jun-hong for the foul. Since the foul was inside the penalty box, France was awarded a penalty kick.
It was a close call. Both players lost sight of the ball and made contact at almost the same time. It’s hard to attribute possession to either player, and the dive was natural. It’s hardly a foul.
Moreover, this referee was consistent in his leniency throughout the match. In the first half, a South Korean player was punched in the face by a French defender inside the penalty box, but he got away with it. This was the only time he applied strict standards. No matter how you look at it, it wasn’t a foul.
Kim Jun-hong was knocked down for a while and couldn’t get up. He got up with the dignity of an injured player, and the penalty was an unfair one. With the momentum in their favor, France pushed hard in the final minutes. However, Kim Jun-hong was able to stop all of their shots and keep the game scoreless.
Both Lee Young-joon and Kim Jun-hong joined the Armed Forces Athletic Corps this year and play for Gimcheon Commerce. Lee joined Suwon FC in 2021 and played professionally before joining the Armed Forces Athletic Corps this year and playing for Gimcheon Commerce. Like a soldier, he proudly showed his status by performing a salute after scoring a goal. Kim Jun-hong, who is the same age, is famous for being the son of Incheon United’s legendary goalkeeper, Kim Yi-seop. He has inherited his father’s blood and is making a name for himself as a goalkeeping prospect. 안전놀이터
South Korea will play their second game against Honduras on the 26th. Honduras lost 1-2 to the Gambia in the first round. The top four teams in the group qualify for the round of 16, so South Korea’s chances of advancing to the knockout rounds are very good. Depending on the number of cases, it could happen as soon as after the second game.