Captain Kim Eun-Joong-ho (Gangwon FC) tormented France and then Honduras with his kicks. Assists in two consecutive games. It doesn’t get much more clear-cut than that.
Kim Eun-joong’s South Korea U-20 soccer team drew 2-2 with Honduras in their Group F match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 on Saturday (June 26) at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina.
The Koreans were down two goals early, but overcame the deficit with back-to-back goals from Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense) and Park Seung-ho (Incheon United) in the second half.
After beating France and picking up a point against Honduras, South Korea is now 1-1 (4 points) and is one step closer to advancing to the Round of 16, the first gateway. They will face Gambia (6 points) in their final match on Sept. 29 for the top spot in the group and a spot in the tournament.
Kim Eun-Joong-ho’s side built on their victory over France, who were considered the strongest team in the group, with a win over Honduras. With a similar starting lineup to the one used against France and the addition of ace Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon Hana Citizen), who returned from injury, the team was looking for a second straight win.
However, they were unable to overcome the offense of Honduras, who had one loss. South Korea conceded the first goal in the 22nd minute on a penalty kick after a questionable call, but the game took a turn for the worse when David Ochoa, who scored the first goal, was sent off five minutes later for punching Bae Seo-joon (Daejeon Hana Citizen) in the face.
At the start of the second half, Korea was unable to capitalize on the 11-10 advantage. They continued to attack and conceded another goal to Isaac Castillo in the sixth minute of the second half. In a situation where they could have fallen apart, Kim Eun-jung-ho’s backup was crucial. Kim Yong-hak pulled one back in the 13th minute and Park Seung-ho equalized four minutes later.
Lee Seung-won’s precise kick was instrumental in the second goal. Lee handled the corner kick himself and sent it to Park Seung-ho on the doorstep for the assist. It was the second consecutive game that Lee produced offensive points, following his one-goal, one-assist performance against France. 안전놀이터
Lee also assisted Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon Sangmu) with a header from a free kick against France. With two consecutive set-piece goals, Lee Seung-won’s kicking ability is starting to become a solid weapon for Kim Eun-ho.
The team’s keywords for the tournament have been strong defense and quick counterattacks. Having the resources to create scoring chances with a single pass is essential. Ideally, Lee Kang-in will be able to do what Chung Jung-yong-ho did four years ago when Korea finished as runners-up at the U-20 World Cup.
This time around, Lee will be expected to do the same. As a central midfielder, Lee acts as an offensive link, but his accurate kicking also allows him to take set pieces. A sharp set piece ability is a much-needed scoring avenue for South Korea, and two assists in as many games could be just the weapon they need to ease through an increasingly difficult schedule.