The South Korea Under-20 Football Team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, drew 0-0 with the Gambia in their third Group F match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023, with kickoff at 6:00 a.m. on Monday (June 29) at the Mendoza Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina.
After finishing the group stage with one win and two draws, South Korea advances to the round of 16 with five points, second behind the Gambia (seven).
South Korea would advance to the knockout rounds even if they lost the third game and dropped to third place, so Kim didn’t force the issue and rotated his best team.
He kept the spine of center back Kim Ji-su, central midfielder Lee Seung-won, and striker Lee Young-joon, but used winger Lee Ji-han, midfielder Park Hyun-bin, center back Hwang In-taek, left and right flankers Choi Ye-hoon and Cho Young-kwang, and goalkeeper Moon Hyun-ho in his best 11. Instead, Bae Jun-ho, Kim Yong-hak, and Kang Sang-yoon started the game from the bench.
The result was successful. Without losing to the Gambia, South Korea secured second place in the group. They needed at least a draw because if they fell to third place, they would face Brazil in the round of 16. It also seemed like a good idea to protect their current position, as they would face Uruguay if they finished first and Ecuador if they finished second. Uruguay is a strong team that finished second in South American qualifying for the World Cup behind Brazil.
It’s also positive that Kim made the right substitutions to stabilize the players’ fitness and improve their game sense. At the start of the second half, Kim took off Lee Seung-won and brought on Kang Sang-yoon, a swap of two starters. In addition, main strikers Bae Joon-ho and Kim Yong-hak came on in the 13th minute of the second half and played about 40 minutes, including extra time. Another striker, Lee Seung-jun, came on in the 26th minute to warm up.
The defense, in particular, did a good job of stopping the sharp Gambian attack. As Kim prepares to face Ecuador, he’ll have to think twice about his defensive combination. One happy thought.
The second-ranked South Koreans will face South American powerhouse Ecuador in the round of 16 next month in Santiago del Estero.
Ecuador, a traditional South American powerhouse, qualified for the tournament by finishing fourth in the South American qualifiers. They finished second in Group B with a 2-1 record. They lost to the United States in their first game, then defeated Slovakia 2-1 in their second game, and followed that up with a 9-0 thrashing of underdog Fiji in their third game. 스포츠토토 They have a powerful, pacey attack with the likes of Justin Cuero and Jose Klinger.
South Korea also faced Ecuador in 2019. They met in the semifinals and won 1-0 to advance to the final. Despite having a completely different lineup, there is no reason for Kim Eun-Joong-ho’s men to be afraid. They’ve already faced some strong teams in the group stage, so they can prepare for the round of 16 with confidence.