Kim Eun Joong-ho’s next opponent is Ecuador. It’s a team that brought back fond memories from four years ago, but they can’t let their guard down.
Kim Eun-Joong’s South Korea U-20 national team drew 0-0 with the Gambia in their third match of Group F of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Estadio Malvinas Argentina in Mendoza, Argentina, at 6 a.m. ET on Monday. With one win and two draws in three group games, South Korea advanced to the round of 16 as the group’s runner-up.
South Korea used a partial rotation against the Gambia. Lee Young-joon, Kang Sung-jin, and Lee Seung-won started, but some players who had started the previous two games, including Kang Sang-yoon, Kim Yong-hak, Bae Seo-joon, and Bae Jun-ho, were benched. In their place, Park Hyun-bin, Lee Chan-wook, Choi Ye-hoon, Cho Young-kwang, and Moon Hyun-ho started.
Reuniting with Ecuador after a ‘1-0 win’ four years ago
The result was a 0-0 draw. Despite not winning, Korea has already qualified for the round of 16, so it’s definitely a positive that they didn’t lose while resting their main players. They also finished second in the group instead of third, so their draw is not bad. If they had finished third, they would have faced Brazil, but now they face Ecuador.
It’s definitely a better matchup than Brazil. Notably, South Korea already faced Ecuador in the semifinals at the 2019 tournament. That time, South Korea reached the final after a 1-0 win thanks to Choi Jun’s goal. South Korea eventually finished as runners-up, while Ecuador won the third and fourth place games against Italy to finish third.
Ecuador’s ‘9-goal’ dominance shows they’re used to the stadium!
But don’t let your guard down. Ecuador was in Group B at the tournament, along with the United States, Slovakia, and Fiji. They lost their first game, 0-1, to the United States, but then swept Slovakia (2-1) and Fiji (9-0) to finish second in their group and advance to the round of 16. They conceded just one goal each against the United States and Slovakia, and poured in nine goals against Fiji, who were considered the underdogs.
Notably, Ecuador had already played at the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades, the venue for their upcoming round of 16 match. It was there that they thrashed Fiji 9-0. On the other hand, this is the first time for South Korea. They played all three of their group games at Estadio Malvinas Argentina.
Kim Eun-Joong-ho in the final… Ecuador makes ‘one’ change to its starting lineup for Game 3
In terms of fitness, however, Kim has the edge. South Korea used a partial rotation against the Gambia after securing a spot in the round of 16. In a tournament where matches are played three days apart, resting a player can have a huge impact. In addition, Lee Seung-won and Kang Sung-jin, who started against the Gambia, were subbed out early in the second half. 안전놀이터
Ecuador, on the other hand, made few changes to their starting lineup in the group stage. The same 11 players started the second game against Slovakia and the third game against Fiji. Their first game against the United States was also unchanged, with 10 players starting and only one position changing.
The round of 16 match between South Korea and Ecuador will take place on March 2 at 6:00 am. The winner will face the Argentina-Nigeria winner in the quarterfinals. South Korea’s quest to reach the finals for a second straight year begins now.