The South Korea Under-20 men’s national soccer team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, lost 1-3 to Israel in the third-place match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the La Plata Stadium in Argentina on Wednesday (June 12).
Despite the loss, the Koreans finished as runners-up at the 2019 tournament in Poland, their second consecutive top-four finish.
After conceding an early goal to Israel’s Ran Binyamin in the 19th minute, Korea tied the game 1-1 in the 24th minute on a penalty kick by Lee Seung-won (Gangwon).
Lee now has three goals and four assists in the tournament, surpassing Lee Kang-in’s (Mallorca) two goals and four assists at the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Trailing 1-1, South Korea conceded a goal to Israel’s Omer Senior in the 31st minute of the second half, and then added another in the 40th minute from a corner kick by Anan Carlisle to finish in fourth place.
Coach Kim Eun-joong went with a 4-1-4-1 formation on the day with Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon) up front.
Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon), Kang Sang-yoon (Jeonbuk), Lee Seung-won, and Lee Ji-han (Freiburg) were used in the second line, with Lee Chan-wook (Gyeongnam) in the center midfield.
Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk), Choi Seok-hyun (Dankook University), Kim Ji-soo (Seongnam), and Bae Seo-joon (Daejeon) lined up in the back four, while Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon) started in goal.
South Korea, who lost 1-2 in the semifinals to Italy on Sept. 9 and were pushed to the third-place match, conceded first in the 19th minute.
Israel Hamza Sibli’s cross from the left side of the penalty area was met by Ran Binyamin, who soared through the air and scored with a right-footed volley to open the scoring.
South Korea quickly equalized on a penalty kick in the 24th minute.
Bae Joon-ho was fouled by Israel’s Eli Feingold while contesting a cross from Lee Seung-won down the right flank.
Bae Joon-ho also drew a penalty kick in the quarterfinals against Italy, and Lee Seung-won, who was the kicker at the time, made it 1-1 with a calm right-footed shot.
With the score tied at 1-1, South Korea came close on several occasions in the second half without creating anything significant.
In the 17th minute of the second half, goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong failed to catch the ball on a corner kick, and Choi Seok-hyun was able to collect the loose ball.
In the 25th minute, Senior opened our goal, but the offside call gave us a breather.
However, in the 31st minute, Senior scored the game-winning goal. He got on the end of a cross from the left by Carlisle and headed home with his right foot to give Israel a 2-1 lead.
Israel made it 3-1 in the 40th minute 먹튀검증 when Carlisle made it 3-1 with a right-footed shot from a corner kick, then went to the corner and took off his jersey top for a little extra ceremony.
After the game, Kim said, “I’m proud of the players who proved that they could have been down in terms of motivation.”
“In the process of challenging and preparing for the big stage of the World Cup, the players could have lost motivation because they had no issues,” Kim said. “However, our players endured hardships and proved themselves, and they became the center of attention during the tournament.”
“I’m grateful that they proved their worth at the World Cup. It was a good experience for the players to play a lot of games on the big stage.”
When asked how he felt about the tournament as a coach, he said, “These players were my first students as a coach, and I was proud to see how they have grown over the past year and a half.”
As for the defeat against Israel, he cited “physical strength.
“I emphasized the importance of finishing the tournament well, and the players prepared well,” Kim said, “but I think their bodies didn’t respond.”
Kim’s players will now return to their respective teams and try to establish themselves in the professional ranks.
Those who prove themselves will have the opportunity to earn a spot on the A team and compete internationally again.
“What I realized the most from this tournament is that we, as well as other Asian teams such as Japan, Uzbekistan, and Iraq, struggle in physical battles,” said Kim, “and if we can improve on that, we can be more competitive.”
“We need to play a lot of matches while winning the competition for the starting position to develop our physical fitness and game sense.”
The team, led by Kim, will return home via Incheon International Airport on Thursday.