After starting the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup on a high note by knocking out ‘favorites’ France, South Korea’s Kim Eun-Joong will look to book an early round of 16 berth.
The Korea U20s, led by head coach Kim Eun-Joong, will face Honduras in their second World Cup Group F match at the Mendoza Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina, on June 26 at 6:00 a.m. ET.
After reaching the round of 16 in the last two tournaments, South Korea will be aiming to advance through the group stage for the third consecutive time. Before departing, head coach Kim Eun-joong said, “Passing the group stage is our priority. Once we enter the round of 16 tournament, we can bring results depending on our physical condition and confidence on the day.”
A win against Honduras is essential for Kim to achieve his goal early. South Korea is tied for first place in Group F with the Gambia (W3, D1) after a 2-1 victory over France on Sept. 23.
If South Korea wins its second game against Honduras and the Gambia also defeats France, South Korea will advance to the Round of 16 regardless of the final outcome of the Gambia game. Clinching a spot in the knockout stages early would allow them to rest key players for the final match.
On the other hand, if South Korea draws or loses to Honduras, they could be faced with the dreaded “what if” scenario of going all out in the final match. It’s better to go for it while you can.
Luckily, Kim Eun-jong-ho’s mood is good. Against France, who were considered one of the strongest teams in Group F, Kim’s stubborn defense and sharp counterattacks led to a 2-1 victory.
Both of Korea’s goals came from well-prepared counterattacks and set pieces, giving the young players the confidence to know that they can do it, and the fact that they were able to hold on for the win after conceding a goal due to a questionable call by the referee brought the team together even more.
It’s also a big boost that Bae Joon-ho (Daejeon), who suffered a minor injury against France, was fully rested and will be available for the Honduras match. Bae is an attacking talent who has been on the radar of many top European clubs and is expected to have a big impact at the tournament.
Of course, we can’t let our guard down. Just like France’s loss to South Korea, there is no guarantee of a result against Honduras. Honduras, in particular, 안전놀이터 will have to give it their all, as a loss to South Korea would mean elimination from the group stage. South Korea has reason to be nervous.
“Both Honduras and Gambia are not easy opponents,” Kim Eun-joong said after the France game. We will prepare thoroughly and play a good game,” Kim said after the game.
For South Korea to win, they will need to shut down the Honduran flank led by Marco Aseituno (Real España).
Honduras threatened against the Gambia mainly through flanking attacks. Even their late equalizer, which was disallowed by video review, came from a cross from the left flank.
The player to watch out for is Aseituno, who scored against Honduras. Aseituno scored six goals at the 2022 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, finishing second in scoring and being named to the tournament’s Best 11. In March of last year, he was called up to the Honduran national team.