‘Asian powerhouse’ South Korea celebrates third straight round of 16 appearance… Japan on verge of first group stage exit in 22 years

Is the U-20s really the stage for Korean soccer, as South Korea booked their place in the round of 16 before they even played their third game? Rival Japan, on the other hand, was on the brink of elimination after a late goal against Israel. It’s been said that Japan has turned Korean soccer on its head in recent years. But at least at the U-20 level, South Korea has a clear advantage over Japan.

Is this the start of another myth? South Korea through the group stage for the fifth time in a row. They want more than a runner-up finish.

South Korea’s soccer team advanced to the round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the third consecutive tournament, continuing its momentum toward ‘Again in 2019’. Japan slipped to third place in Group C of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a 1-2 defeat against 10-man Israel at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Monday (June 28), leaving them with just three points (D1, L2).

As a result, South Korea (4 points) has secured a ticket to the Round of 16 as one of the “top four teams in Group 3” even if the worst happens and they lose their third Group F match against Gambia (6 points) at the same venue at 6 a.m. on Sept. 29.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup is a round of 16 tournament, with the top 12 teams from each of Group A through Group F and the top four teams from each of Group 3. Among the top three teams that have finished the group stage so far, Slovakia in Group B and Japan in Group C have three points apiece, neither of which is enough to overtake South Korea’s three points with one game remaining.

As a result, even if South Korea falls to third place in the group, they will still be among the “top four teams in Group 3” and advance to the Round of 16 regardless of the outcome of their final match against The Gambia on Monday. South Korea has now reached the round of 16 in three consecutive tournaments, starting with the 2017 tournament in South Korea (round of 16), followed by the 2019 tournament in Poland (runner-up) and now Argentina.

In addition, they have now reached the round of 16 in five consecutive FIFA-organized tournaments, starting with the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland (runner-up), followed by the 2019 U-17 World Cup in Brazil (quarterfinals), the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (quarterfinals) and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (round of 16).

Japan stuns 10-man Israel with a late goal… First group stage exit in 22 years

Rival Japan, on the other hand, faced the prospect of elimination. Japan lost a 1-1 draw to Israel in stoppage time despite being outnumbered, while Colombia went down 0-1 to Senegal before scoring a late equalizer in stoppage time.

In the end, Colombia (7 points) and Israel (4 points) advanced to the round of 16 by finishing 1-2, while Japan slipped to third place in the group and will have to wait for the third wild card.

[Mendoza=AP/News] Israel’s players celebrate after coming from behind to beat Japan during the FIFA Under-20 World Cup Group C soccer match at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, Argentina, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2018. After taking a 1-0 lead, Japan came from behind to defeat 10-man Israel 1-2 to finish third in the group and secure South Korea’s early qualification for the round of 16. 2023.05.28. JEONJU, South Koreaⓒ Yonhap News Agency. All rights reserved.> /Photo=Newsis Image

On the day, Japan took the lead against Israel when Isa Sakamoto scored a header in stoppage time following a free kick in the first half. Israel, who finished the first half 0-1, were forced to play with 10 men in the second half when substitute Ran Binyamin was sent off in the 16th minute after picking up two yellow cards in a span of just three minutes. However, Binyamin’s ejection spurred the Israelis on. From a 10-man disadvantage, Roy Nabi’s header equalized the game in the 31st minute of the second half.

Israel sank Japan in stoppage time when Omer Senior scored a “theater goal” with his right foot from the front of the goal area after a short passing sequence inside the penalty area. With the win, Israel, making its U-20 World Cup debut, continued its run to the round of 16.안전놀이터

Meanwhile, Japan, who slipped to third place in Group C, is now fifth out of six nations (the top four teams advance to the Round of 16) with Group E through F playing their final games on Monday, facing its first group stage exit in 22 years since the 2001 tournament. Japan missed the knockout stage for four consecutive tournaments beginning in 2009 before reaching the round of 16 in back-to-back tournaments in 2017 and 2019.

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