At the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, South Korea, which had already qualified for the round of 16, tied Gambia to finish the group stage undefeated. The team finished second in the group and will face Ecuador in the round of 16, a team we beat four years ago in this tournament.
Ha Sung-ryong is a reporter.
Before the Gambia game, our players took a group photo with the jersey of Park Seung-ho, who was forced to return home early due to an unfortunate injury.
Park Seung-ho suffered a fractured ankle in the last match against Honduras and was no longer able to play in the tournament, and the players consoled his pain and strengthened their determination to fight for their teammate.
With a spot in the round of 16 already secured, the team made a number of changes to their starting lineup to ensure their fitness.
The Gambia’s individual prowess and quick counter-attacks threatened on several occasions, but Moon Hyun-ho, the 6-foot-3 goalkeeper who replaced Kim Jun-hong, who was absent due to accumulated cautions, made some dazzling saves.
Coach Kim Eun-joong substituted players who had played a lot in the first and second rounds, such as Kim Yong-hak, in the second half to keep the sense of the game alive, and our team eventually held Gambia to a scoreless draw.
After finishing the group stage with one win, two draws, and no losses, Korea finished second in the group behind the Gambia and will play Ecuador in the round of 16 on Friday.
South America’s Ecuador is a team we met in the semifinals of the 2019 tournament, when Korea finished as runners-up, and we have fond memories of beating them 1-0 to reach our first ever final 먹튀검증.
[Kim Eun-joong/U-20 coach: I think we need to prepare a little more thoroughly, and we are cautious because it is a one-off match, but we will prepare well to get a result].
As for the Asian nations, we and Uzbekistan advanced to the round of 16, while Japan, with just one win and two losses, were eliminated from the group stage for the first time in 22 years.