By Han Jae-hyun Reporter= After leading South Korea to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup for the second consecutive tournament, head coach Kim Eun-joong credited the original team, including Park Seung-ho (Incheon United), who was sidelined with an injury, as the driving force.
South Korea booked their place in the quarterfinals of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 3-2 victory over Ecuador in the Round of 16 at the Santiago del Estero Stadium in Argentina at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday. This is the second consecutive tournament they have reached the quarterfinals after finishing as runners-up in 2019, and they will now face Nigeria at 2:30 a.m. on June 5 at the same venue.
Kim Eun-joong is a novice coach, but he managed to reach the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup without much difficulty. He has been able to improvise on the fly to secure victories and it has paid off.
In his post-match interview, Kim said, “The players responded well to the preparation process. We talked about the fact that it’s a tournament and we don’t have another game, so today could be our last. It was positive that the preparation translated into the game,” he said.
The opponent, Ecuador, was not easy. Despite being 3-1 up, they made a late push and scored a late goal to keep us on our toes.
“The World Cup is in South America, so we have home field advantage. We had a hard time because Ecuador was confident and physical, so I’m grateful that we stayed focused until the end and finished well,” he said, giving credit to the players for maintaining their focus. 메이저놀이터
“As I said at the end of the first game, we had 21 players working as a team. Not only the starters, but also the players who played in the second half, the players who couldn’t make it as substitutes, and even Park Seung-ho, who returned home due to injury, worked as a team,” he said. He also mentioned Park Seung-ho, who returned home early due to injury, and how he brought the team together.
South Korea will now face Nigeria, who defeated favorites and hosts Argentina in the round of 16. It will be a tough matchup for the African team, who have had to fight hard in every tournament. Moreover, South Korea will be short on rest, which is a major concern.
Coach Kim Eun-joong said, “We have to focus on Nigeria. There is no quarterfinal. Nigeria had one more day off than us, so we will focus on recovery,” he said.