Kim Eun-joong, head coach of the South Korea Under-20 National Team (U-20), also mentioned Park Seung-ho, who returned home due to injury.
Kim’s U-20s 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 at 6 a.m. ET today.
South Korea made history by reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament for the second consecutive time after finishing as runners-up in Poland in 2019, the best men’s finish at a FIFA-organized tournament in history.
After the match, Kim told the Korea Football Association, “The players followed the preparation well. I emphasized to them (the players) that there is no next game because it is a tournament, and it could be the last. We had a good result because we prepared well with the players,” Kim said of the victory.
Ecuador is an opponent they met in the semifinals of the 2019 tournament in Poland. On that occasion, Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) finished off a sensational pass from Choi Joon (Busan I-Park) for a 1-0 win and a place in the final. This time, it was also a close game, with a one-goal victory.
“This World Cup is being held in South America, so we have a home advantage (in Ecuador). We were confident and our physicality was good,” he said, adding, “I’m grateful that the players were focused and finished well, even though they were struggling.”
When asked to single out a player, Kim emphasized the ‘one team’ rather than an individual. “As I said after the first game, we play with all 21 players. The 21 players work as a team, so I think we won today because we fought as a team, no matter who played in the first half, who played in the second half, who couldn’t play as a substitute, or even Park Seung-ho (Incheon), who went back to Korea due to injury,” he said, referring to the striker who was sidelined due to injury and returned home. 스포츠토토 Kim’s answer is typical of his philosophy.
In fact, Kim’s players held Park Seung-ho’s jersey in the post-match team photo, showing that they are all in this together.
Their quarterfinal opponents are Nigeria, who defeated host Argentina 2-0 in the Round of 16. They will face off at 2:30 a.m. on May 5 at the same venue.
Kim said, “We have to focus everything on Nigeria in the next game. I don’t think there is anything else. We will focus everything on Nigeria. They have one more day off than us, so we will focus on recovery,” Kim said.