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Korean Women’s soccer faces must-win match for round of 16

Korean Women’s soccer faces must-win match for round of 16

Posted July. 29, 2023 08:12,   

Updated July. 29, 2023 08:12


The South Korean women's national soccer team is preparing to square off against Morocco in a must-win match. With their hopes for the round of 16 hanging in the balance, anything short of a victory is simply unacceptable.

The upcoming clash will take place in the second round of Group H at the 2023 Australia-New Zealand Women's World Cup, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium. Having endured a 0-2 defeat to Colombia in the initial group stage encounter on Tuesday, it's now imperative that South Korea secures a full '3 points' against Morocco to stay in contention.

Morocco, standing at 72nd in the FIFA rankings, is perceived as the underdog of Group H. Despite their lower ranking, the New York Times recently spotlighted the team with the headline, 'The Morocco Women’s Team Has Already Won,' reflecting the team's momentous achievement of merely making their World Cup debut.

The Moroccan side suffered a 0-6 drubbing at the hands of Germany in their opening match on Monday. Throughout the game, Morocco's defensive line showed signs of crumbling, particularly during crosses from the wings and set-piece situations. In fact, two of the six goals conceded to Germany were own goals. Their physical resilience also seemed to falter in the second half, with the team allowing four goals.

It is also premature to count South Korea out. Reflecting on their 2015 campaign, where they achieved their best-ever result of making it to the 'World Cup round of 16,' South Korea suffered an initial 0-3 loss to Brazil, but managed a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica in the second match, thereby securing a valuable point. They then triumphed 2-1 over Spain in the third match to move forward to the round of 16. If Germany, the top-ranked powerhouse of Group H, manages to knock Colombia out in their second match, thereby clinching their spot in the round of 16 ahead of schedule, they might face South Korea in a more relaxed manner in the third match.

Collin Bell, the head coach of the South Korean women's national team, voiced a resolute mindset after a training session on Friday. "We are fully aware of what's at stake in the game against Morocco,” he said. “I consider the tournament to kick off with this match." Indeed, anything less than a win at this stage would signal the end of South Korea's World Cup journey.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com