South Korea’s Kim Eun-joong made a strong start to their ‘Again in 2019’ campaign by defeating ‘powerhouse’ France in their first match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023.
The South Korean U-20 team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, came from behind to score the first two goals of their Group F match against France at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Sept. 23 (KST) to win 2-1.
Captain Lee Seung-won (Gangwon) opened the scoring and delivered the winning goal, while Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon) scored the winner.
With the Gambia-Honduras match in the same group yet to kick off, South Korea sits atop the group with three points.
In the 24-team tournament, which is divided into six groups of four nations, the first and second place finishers in each group can qualify for the round of 16, as well as the third place finisher (four out of six).
South Korea will face Honduras in the second round at 6 a.m. on June 26.
It’s been six years since South Korea won its first group game at the U-20 World Cup, a 3-0 victory over Guinea at the 2017 tournament.
At the previous tournament in Poland in 2019, they lost their first match 0-1 to Portugal before rallying to finish as runners-up, their best-ever finish.
Prior to that, they finished fourth (1983), three quarterfinals (1991, 2009, 2013) and 16th (2003, 2011, 2017).
France is a perennial favorite, having won the tournament once (2013) and finished fourth (2011), and twice in the quarterfinals (1997, 2001) and round of 16 (2017, 2019). The team is led by head coach Landry Chauvin.
This will be the first time South Korea has beaten world power France in the tournament.
They previously lost 2-4 in Malaysia in 1997 and 1-3 in Colombia in 2011.
South Korea has two wins, three draws and four losses in the all-time series between France and the U-20 national team.
Kim Eun-Joong-ho lined up in a 4-4-1-1 with Lee Young-joon as the upfront striker and Kang Sang-yoon (Jeonbuk) as the shadow striker.
Kang Sung-jin (Seoul) and Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense) attacked on the left and right, while Lee Seung-won and Lee Chan-wook (Gyeongnam) lined up in the midfield.
From left to right, Bae Seo-joon (Daejeon), Kim Ji-soo (Seongnam), Choi Seok-hyun (Dankook University), and Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk) formed the back line, while Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon) wore the goalkeeping gloves.
France dominated possession, winning 57% of the ball. By the 15th minute of the first half, France had 75% possession.
Korea crouched down and tried to find the back of the net with counterattacks.
In the 10th minute, Lee Young-joon struck first with a right-footed mid-range shot from the right side of the penalty area.
After barely holding off the French offense, South Korea took the lead in the 22nd minute with a goal from “Captain” Lee Seung-won on a counterattack.
After receiving the ball from Kang Sung-jin, Kim Yong-hak beat one opponent and used his quick feet to break down the left side of the midfield before passing to Lee Seung-won, who was rushing into the box.
Finding himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, Lee calmly slotted the ball into the left side of the net.
South Korea continued to push forward, allowing France to cut back on several occasions, but were unable to capitalize.
Korea made their first substitution at the start of the second half, bringing Lee Chan-wook to the bench and sending midfielder Park Hyun-bin (Incheon), whose natural position is center back, onto the field.
France’s offense intensified in the second half.
An own goal almost came in the fifth minute of the second half. Park’s cross from the left was headed into the corner of the net by Kim Jun-hong, who managed to clear it off the line.
In the ninth minute of the second half, Martine Adeline’s shot from the edge of the area was blocked by several Korean defenders in a physical defense, and Wilson Odobe’s subsequent strong shot went narrowly wide of the right side of the goal.
South Korea brought on Lee Ji-han (Freiburg) and Hwang In-taek (Eland) for Kim Yong-hak and Bae Seo-joon in the 14th minute of the second half in an attempt to turn things around.
After surviving the crisis, South Korea added another goal in the 19th minute off a set piece.
Lee Seung-won sent in a free-kick cross from the left side, where Lee Young-joon leaped to finish with a deflected header.
The euphoria was interrupted by a dubious penalty call from the referee.
Kim Jun-hong, who was trying to punch in an opponent’s cross, was brought down by the shoulder of Malamine Efekele, who was rushing in for a header.
As the cross went untouched, the referee decided that Kim had fouled Efekele and showed him a yellow card, giving France a penalty kick.안전놀이터
In the 25th minute of the second half, Alain Birginius, who took the kick, shot to the left side of the goal to give France the lead.
From then on, South Korea held off France’s total offense with a tenacious defense. Eight minutes of extra time were awarded, but the game ended without any further goals.
Running out of steam, South Korea introduced defender Choi Ye-hoon (Busan) in the 29th minute and winger Park Seung-ho (Incheon) in stoppage time.