“are you okay!” “don’t cry!”
On the 12th (Korean time),메이저놀이터 the Unico Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in La Plata, Argentina. After the final whistle blew, the Koreans who visited the stadium shouted in unison to the tearful Korean players. The Korean U-20 (under 20 years old) World Cup team led by coach Kim Eun-joong (44) finished the tournament in 4th place after losing 1-3 to Israel in the 3rd and 4th place match that day. Contrary to their determination to reap the ‘beauty of the end’, they ended up in regret, but their beautiful journey that unfolded for 21 days was enough to receive applause. Even in the chilly weather of less than 10 degrees that day, hundreds of Koreans visited the stadium and applauded the young players with cheering signs reading ‘Let’s go to Korea (Vamos Corea)’ and holding the national flag. Following the 2019 competition (runner-up), the first Asian team to achieve the ‘four-final myth’ in two consecutive U-20 World Cups will return home via Incheon Airport on the afternoon of the 14th.
On this day as well, Kim Eun-joong raised the overall line and actively tried to attack instead of a quick counterattack after strengthening the defense he had maintained throughout the tournament. However, it seemed that his stamina did not support him. After taking two or three days off to play his seventh game, his players were noticeably slow. Israel had a vacancy as five key players were selected for the adult representative A match, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The new players played energetically and led the game.
In the 19th minute of the first half, Israel Ran Binyamin kicked a cross from the left with a scissor kick with his right foot to take the lead. Korea immediately counterattacked five minutes later with Lee Seung-won (Gangwon)’s penalty kick, but they seldom seized a chance after that. Israel decided the game with consecutive goals from Omer Senior in the 31st minute and Anan Kalyli in the 40th minute of the second half. Coach Kim Eun-joong said after the game, “I was heartbroken to see the players who tried their best, but their bodies couldn’t keep up with their hearts.” ” he said.
Analysts say that the national team, which started in relative indifference, revealed the future of Korean football by achieving results that exceeded expectations. Coach Kim, who took the baton at the end of 2021, built a team with difficulty focusing on the K-League B team and college players in a situation where the national team by age group could not be operated for two years due to the corona pandemic. There were no star players like Lee Seung-woo (25, Suwon FC) in 2017 and Lee Kang-in (22, Mallorca) in 2019, and Lee Hyun-joo, a key player in Bayern Munich (Germany), was out of power due to an injury. He intensively polished ‘silly soccer’ with his back in front. The Korean team’s share remained at a minimum of 26% (against France) to a maximum of 47% (against Israel), excluding Ecuador (70%), where the opposing player was sent off early in the tournament’s seven games. Lee Seung-won, Lee Yeong-joon (Gimcheon Sangmu), Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon), and Choi Seok-hyeon (Dankook University), who stood out in the meantime, are evaluated as ‘players who came out of the valley’ and will continue to be the focus of attention.
The physical fitness problem that has appeared since the quarter-final match with Italy is a task to be improved. Manager Kim said, “Most of the players are not the main players in the K-League, so they have little experience playing full-time.”
Uruguay won the U-20 World Cup. Uruguay defeated Italy 1-0 with Luciano Rodriguez’s goal in the 41st minute of the second half in the final and rose to the top for the first time ever. Italian Cesare Casadei, who was the top scorer with 7 goals, became the main character of the Golden Ball (contest MVP), and the Silver Ball went to Alan Maturo, the central defender who led Uruguay to the championship.