‘Pearls in the soil’ shed tears due to indifference, grow into hope for Korean football

Kim Eun-joong, who challenged the FIFA U-20 World Cup despite various difficulties such as indifference, finished the tournament in a beautiful 4th place.메이저사이트

The Korean national team, led by coach Kim Eun-joong, lost 1-3 to Israel in the third and fourth place match of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup held at La Plata Stadium in Argentina on the 12th (Korean time).

In FIFA-sponsored competitions, official awards are given up to the third place. Korea, which placed fourth, did not even receive a small medal. Although he failed to win the prize, Kim Eun-joong deserves applause for making the semifinals in two consecutive tournaments following the 2019 Polish tournament (runner-up).

When the national team was launched, expectations for Kim Eun-joong were at the bottom. There were no stars like Lee Seung-woo (Suwon FC), Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors) in the 2017 tournament, and Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) in the 2019 tournament. Unless you’re a hardcore soccer fan, you wouldn’t even know the names of most of the players. At least, Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense), who is active in Europe, and Bae Jun-ho, who consistently competes for Daejeon Hana Citizen, were well-known players.

Kim Eun-joong-ho was not discouraged. Rather, he developed into a stronger team by feeding on his indifference.

Unknown players were reborn as ‘pearls in the soil’ through this tournament. Kim Eun-joong’s “Captain” Lee Seung-won (Gangwon) is a representative player. Lee Seung-won had not played a single K-League 1 match before this tournament. Through this tournament, he has stood tall as a new promising player who will lead the future of Korean football.

Lee Seung-won recorded 7 attack points (3 goals and 4 assists) in this tournament. This is a new record for the most attack points set by a Korean player in a single men’s competition organized by FIFA. The previous record was 6 (2 goals and 4 assists) set by Lee Kang-in in the 2019 Polish tournament. Lee Kang-in, who led Korea to runner-up, won the Golden Ball, the MVP of the tournament.

Starting with 1 goal and 1 assist in the first group stage match against France (2-1 win), Lee Seung-won drew attack points in almost every match. He failed to score a goal or assist only in the final group stage match against Gambia, which ended 0–0.

After the tournament, he was honored to receive the bronze shoe. He was recognized as the player with the third best performance in the event. The Golden Ball was won by Cesare Casadei (Italy), who scored 7 goals, and the Silver Ball by Alan Maturo (Uruguay).

Lee Seung-won, who became the national team captain and took center stage with quiet leadership, said, “It was a difficult journey for 1 year and 6 months. I am grateful to the coaches who helped me with good guidance and the players who did well in the process of coming up to the semifinals,” he said.

Lee Seung-won is not the only ‘pearl in the soil’ discovered in this competition. 190 cm tall striker Lee Yeong-joon (Kim Cheon) scored one goal each against France and Ecuador, drawing attention as a next-generation large striker. In the match against France, he succeeded in a header using height, and in the match against Ecuador, he showed off his excellent scoring sense and technique, such as exploding right-footed non-stop shooting.

Side forward Bae Jun-ho also showed off his presence through this tournament. Bae Jun-ho, who is 180 cm tall and has a strong physique and has both speed and individual skills, left a strong impression in the semifinal match against Italy. The team lost, but the bold breakthrough against the Italian players made the viewers feel refreshed. Even the Italian coach named Bae Jun-ho as an impressive player in an interview after the game.

In addition, Choi Seok-hyeon (Dankook University), a 178 cm tall “defender who scores two goals with his headers” despite not being tall, goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong (Kim Cheon), who made brilliant saves at every critical moment, and center back Kim Ji-soo, who is rumored to advance to Brentford in the English Premier League. (Seongnam) also established themselves as the future of Korean football through this tournament.

Of course, when the dreamlike time is over, the harsh reality awaits these players. If you return to your team, you will have to break through the breathtaking competition for the main team again. You may have to keep the bench for a long time like before. In that respect, the real soccer life of these ‘Little Taegeuk Warriors’ begins now. The experience of this U-20 World Cup semifinal is expected to be an important nourishment for them to grow higher.

Main gatekeeper Kim Jun-hong said, “I couldn’t play many matches on my team, so that experience was especially valuable.

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