Lee Seung-won’s counterattack – hunting big fish with set pieces…Round of 16 green light
It couldn’t have been a more perfect start to ‘Again 2019. Kim Eun-joong’s men defeated ‘powerhouse’ France in their first match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023.
The South Korean U-20 team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, defeated France 2-1 in their Group F opener at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Wednesday, thanks to relay goals from captain Lee Seung-won (Gangwon) and Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon). The victory over France, the group favorites, gave South Korea three points and a strong start to their quest to reach the round of 16.
It’s been six years since South Korea won their first group game at the U-20 World Cup since 2017 (3-0 win over Guinea). Their best finish in the tournament (runner-up) came four years ago in Poland, where they started with a 0-1 loss to Portugal.
Against France, who won the tournament in 2013, Kim deployed a 4-4-1-1 formation and, true to his word, scored the opening goal on a quick counterattack. If there was a Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) four years ago, this time it was Lee Seung-won who heralded the ‘birth of a star’. Lee turned the tide with a single counterattack in the first half, when the French were pushed back and focused on defense. In the 22nd minute, Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense), who used his quick feet to break into the opponent’s half, passed to Lee Seung-won, who was rushing into the box, and Lee made no mistake in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. Lee completed his hat-trick in the second half with a precise kick from a free kick in the 19th minute that set up Lee Young-joon’s header.
“We have to go up with all three points from the group stage, so we will only enjoy the joy of victory until today,” Lee said after the game.
Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon) also shined in goal. The Korean goalkeeper, who was able to hold off a stronger French attack in the second half, was reminiscent of Lee Kwang-yeon (Gangwon), who was outstanding in Poland four years ago. In the fifth minute of the second half with a 1-0 lead, defender Park Hyun-bin’s header was headed toward the goal, but Kim Jun-hong made the save. With the score 2-0, Korea conceded a penalty kick in the 21st minute of the second half due to a questionable call, but the goalkeeper saved Alexis Tibidi’s shot from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute.메이저놀이터
The Koreans, who came into the game with the keywords of strong pressure and quick counterattacks, were out-shot 3-7 and out-shot 9-23, but were able to counter with 5-6 in shots on goal. “France attacked hard at the end, but I’m thankful that the defense stayed focused and didn’t concede a goal,” said Kim. “I think the most important thing is that all 21 players played together and knew what we had to do.”
The 24-team tournament is divided into six groups of four countries, with the top two finishers in each group and four of the top three qualifying for the round of 16. The team will face Honduras on Sept. 26 and Gambia on Sept. 29 for the second and third round matches.