South Korea’s soccer hopefuls are one step closer to ‘Again in 2019’.

The South Korea Under-20 Football Team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, advanced to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 with a 3-2 victory over Ecuador in the Round of 16 at the Santiago del Estero Stadium in Argentina on Sunday (June 2).

It was his fourth career U-20 World Cup quarterfinal appearance. Previously, Kim Seung-kyu (Al-Shabaab) and Koo Ja-cheol (Jeju United) reached the quarterfinals in Egypt in 2009, Kwon Chang-hoon (Gimcheon Commerce) in Turkey in 2013, and runner-up Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) in Poland in 2019.

Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon) was deployed up front, with Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon Hana Citizen), Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC) and Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense) supporting him. Kang Sang-yoon (Jeonbuk Hyundai) and Park Hyun-bin (Incheon United) supported the back, while Choi Seok-hyun (Dankook University) returned to the defense to partner with Choi Ye-hoon (Busan I-Park), Kim Ji-soo (Seongnam FC), and Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk). In goal, Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon) also returns.

Ecuador was the opponent the brothers had defeated in the semifinals four years earlier.

Four years later, the result was the same. The new Korean soccer hopefuls once again rattled Ecuador with their fiery offense.

The first goal came in the 11th minute. Bae Joon-ho’s early cross found Lee Young-joon on the right side of the goal, who trapped the ball with his chest and opened the scoring with a non-stop right-footed shot. It was reminiscent of Park Ji-Sung’s goal against Portugal at the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup.

South Korea added a second goal in the 19th minute. After receiving a pass from Park Chang-woo, it was showtime for Bae Jun-ho. With a clever turn, he beat one defender, then changed direction and beat the goalkeeper. Bae Jun-ho calmly finished the goal. 메이저사이트

The goal was unfortunate. In the 31st minute, Park Chang-woo committed a handball foul on Kendry Paes inside the penalty box. The referee awarded a penalty kick. After a lengthy VAR review, the goal was upheld. In the 36th minute, Justin Cuero conceded a penalty kick.

Three minutes into the second half, they struck again. Lee Seung-won’s corner kick was headed into the box, where defender Choi Seok-hyun, who was involved in the attack, rose to head home. The goal made up for his absence from the final three Group F matches against the Gambia due to a red card.

Kim Eun-joong took off Kim Yong-hak and Lee Seung-won in the 16th minute of the second half and introduced Kang Sung-jin (FC Seoul) and Hwang In-taek (Seoul Eland) to strengthen the defense. In the 24th minute, he brought on Lee Chan-wook (Gyeongnam FC) in place of Park Hyun-bin to solidify the defense.

Ecuador’s offense unfolded. Ecuador pressured Korea with over 10 shots in the second half alone, but the Korean defense held on until the end. In the 37th minute, the final substitutions were made, with Cho Young-kwang (Seoul) and Bae Seo-joon (Daejeon) replacing Bae Jun-ho and Choi Ye-hoon.

Despite going down a goal to Sebastian Gonzalez in the 39th minute, they held on for the rest of the game to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals.

Their quarterfinal opponent is Nigeria. The Nigerians finished third in Group D, the “Group of Death,” with two wins, one loss, and three points before knocking off the favorites, host Argentina, in the round of 16.

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