The Gangwon National Under-20 (U-20) Football Team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, made history by defeating ‘powerhouse’ France in their first match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023.
The U-20s secured a thrilling 2-1 victory over France in their Group F opener at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Wednesday (June 23), thanks to a brace from goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon Commerce) and back-to-back goals from captain Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC) and Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon). With the win, South Korea moved closer to qualifying for the tournament with three first-round points for the first time in six years since the 2017 domestic tournament. South Korea, tied for first place with The Gambia, will play Honduras in the second round on June 26.
Formula for victory = counterattacks & set pieces
South Korea finished as high as runner-up 토토사이트 in Poland four years ago, but few expected them to beat 2013 champions France. They lost 2-4 in Malaysia in 1997 and 1-3 in Colombia in 2011.
South Korea was prepared. They knew they could win if they held on. France’s offense was outstanding, with 57% of the ball possession. But they didn’t miss their chances. After defending the midfield and closing down the danger zone, chances came.
In the 22nd minute, Lee Seung-won opened the scoring with a right-footed shot past the goalkeeper after receiving a pass from Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense). In the 19th minute of the second half, the ‘must-win’ set piece worked. Lee Seung-won set up Lee Young-joon, who drove the wedge with an exquisite header. “We prepared a strategy to defend and counterattack,” said Kim.
A super goal that didn’t fall victim to poor officiating
South Korea had a tough game. They were out-shot 23-9, out-rebounded 71-28, out-blocked 136-90, and out-passed 585-263.
There were even some questionable calls. In the 25th minute of the second half, goalkeeper (GK) Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon) and Malamine Efekele collided with a quick French cross, but neither of them could touch the ball. The referee gave only Kim Jun-hong a yellow card and a penalty kick (PK), leading to a goal. Even the French media called it “not right”.
However, the team was undeterred. In the fifth minute of the second half, he saved an own goal with quick reflexes, and in the 42nd minute after conceding the PK, he threw his whole body to block the opponent’s surprise shot. Kim Jun-hong, who is also known as the son of Incheon United GK coach Kim Yi-seop, joined Jeonbuk Hyundai in 2021 and has played four K League 1 games in two years.