Scoreless in 3 games. This is one of Kim Eun-joong’s group stage records.
The under-20 (U-20) soccer team led by coach Kim Eun-joong passed the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-20 Asian Cup group stage in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in first place. Korea, which belongs to Group C, won two consecutive victories by beating Oman and Jordan in the first and second matches, and drew with Tajikistan in the third match on the 8th, taking the lead with 2 wins, 1 draw and 7 points. It wasn’t the 3-game winning streak we expected, but we advanced to the quarterfinals without a major crisis.
As expected, the attack power was good. The detailed and agile play led by Kang Seong-jin, Bae Jun-ho, and Kim Yong-hak appeared as the biggest weapon. In the match against Tajikistan, he couldn’t break through the opponent’s dense defense, but scored a total of 6 goals in the previous two games, 4-0 and 2-0. Even against Tajikistan, his offensive power was not bad. It was not finished, but the pattern play made in a small space came out to some extent.
The biggest task is to resolve the defensive anxiety that we were concerned about. Coach Kim said ahead of the tournament, “I’m more concerned about defense than offense.” In last year’s Asian Cup qualifier against Malaysia, they won 6-2, but conceded two goals, and in November, in two friendly matches against Uzbekistan, they scored 1-1 and 3-2.
Contrary to concerns, Kim Eun-joong’s defensive organization was solid. While operating the rotation for each game to arrange his stamina, he maintained a sense of organization full of stability by not conceding a single goal in three games. He was exposed to counter-attacks through aggressive game management, but he rarely allowed a scene close to conceding. This was possible because the cooperative defense was carried out smoothly with a quick air defense transition. 메이저놀이터
In the group stage of this tournament, only Korea Republic and the home team Uzbekistan recorded no goals. In the case of Uzbekistan, they recorded 3 goals in 3 matches. Korea is emerging as a strong contender for the championship with the best firepower and strength in defense. With the current performance and momentum, it is worth aiming for the championship.
After passing through the group stage with ease, Korea will play the 2nd place in Group D on the 12th in the quarterfinals. In Group D, Japan is in first place with two wins, while China and Saudi Arabia are in second and third place with three points each. Depending on the results of the final game on the 9th, Kim Eun-joong’s opponent will be decided.