With a red light in the World Cup Round of 16, the South Korean women’s soccer team will look to break the jinx and get a win.
Head coach Colleen Bell’s side will take on Morocco at 1:30 p.m. ET on June 30 at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Australia, in their second Group H match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023.
Currently winless, South Korea (0 for 0) is third in the group behind Germany and Colombia (both on 3+), who both earned their first wins. They have no room to maneuver if they want to qualify for the round of 16, which is reserved for the first and second place finishers. They need to win now. 꽁머니지급
South Korea was brought to its knees by a 0-2 scoreline in its first game against Colombia on Sept. 25. They took control of the game early on and had a good flow, but bad luck and mistakes got the better of them. They conceded two goals in the first half alone on penalties and goalkeeping errors.
The defeat was especially bitter for Colombia, who were expected to provide the stiffest competition for a spot in the round of 16. The first-leg jinx was also a setback. South Korea had lost its first three World Cup matches. No goals were scored. They were hoping to break the jinx against Colombia, but they failed.
The first game loss was in the past. With two games left, Colin Belho is lacing up his boots again. South Korea’s next opponent is Morocco, ranked 72nd in the FIFA rankings. They are the lowest ranked team in Group H. It’s not far behind Korea in 17th place.
In their first appearance at the World Cup, Morocco suffered a 0-6 loss to Germany in the first round. Inexperience often led to mistakes, and they were vulnerable in defending side crosses and set plays. The goalkeeper’s handling of aerial balls was also shaky.
This is an area that Korea needs to work on. Lee Kum-min (29-Brighton), Choi Yuri (29-Incheon Hyundai Steel), Son Hwa-yeon (26-Hyundai Steel), and Jang Seul-ki (29-Hyundai Steel) and Chu Hyo-joo (23-Suwon FC) should shake up the flanks. Add to that set plays from the toes of Ji So-yeon (32-Suwon FC) and finishing from the 6-foot-3 Park Eun-sun (37-Seoul City Hall), and you have a recipe for a Moroccan goal.
After kneeling to a first-leg jinx, South Korea faces a second-leg jinx. South Korea are winless in their last three World Cup second-round matches, with one draw and two losses. In 2003 and 2019, they lost to Norway (1-7) and Nigeria (0-2), respectively. In 2015, they earned their only point in a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica.
It’s worth noting that the 2015 win was a dramatic turnaround. South Korea lost the first game and then drew with Costa Rica in the second. They then defeated Spain in the third round to reach the round of 16. It was the second game that set the stage for a miraculous turnaround.
South Korea will need to keep up the fight against Colombia. They need to defeat Morocco by multiple goals and wait to see the outcome of the Germany-Colombia match as they will face the winner of Group H, Germany. Depending on the outcome of the Colombian game, Korea’s hopes of reaching the Round of 16 could grow.
They need a win, but they’re not letting their guard down against Morocco. Team captain Kim Hye-ri (33-Hyundai Steel) said.