Go to contents

Korea defeats France to open FIFA U-20 World Cup

Posted May. 24, 2023 07:56,   

Updated May. 24, 2023 07:56


The South Korean U-20 national football team, led by coach Kim Eun-jung, won their first match in the tournament's group stage against France 2-1 at the Estadio Malvinas in Argentina on Tuesday. In the 22nd minute of the first half, Lee Seung-won scored the opening goal in a counterattack, and in the 19th minute of the second half, Lee Young-jun redirected Lee Seung-won's free kick with his head to score the second goal.

With this victory, South Korea secured 3 points and ranked at the top of the group along with the Gambia, which defeated Honduras 2-1 on the same day. The U-20 World Cup, which features 24 participating countries, is divided into six groups of four teams each for the group stage. The top two teams from each group and the four best third-place teams among all groups advance to the round of 16. From the round of 16 onwards, it turns into a knockout format. South Korea will play its second group-stage match against Honduras at 6 a.m. on Friday.

This is the first time that South Korea has defeated France in the U-20 World Cup. South Korea lost 2-4 in 1997 and 1-3 in 2011 against France. France is considered a strong contender in this tournament, having won all their matches against Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela before the U-20 World Cup. They also won the U-20 World Cup in 2013. "We prepared a counterattack strategy focusing on defense as France is a strong title contender,” Coach Kim said after the match. “Our players defended well against France's tough attacks. I am satisfied that the players knew what to do on the pitch and played accordingly."

The hero of the game was Lee Seung-won. The central midfielder and captain of the national team made massive contributions to the victory with one goal and one assist. Although Lee joined Gangwon in the K League 1 this year, he has not yet made his professional debut. Known for his explosive workrate in both offense and defense, Lee is a playmaker creating many opportunities for his teammates. "My goal for this tournament is to reach at least the quarterfinals,” he said after the game. “It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I hope to achieve a good result without any regrets.”