“You Nigerians must win.”
On the 3rd (local time), the Korean U-20 (Under 20) World Cup soccer team trained the day before the match against Nigeria in the quarterfinals at Club Atlético Mitre Stadium in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. Coach Lee Chang-hyeon (38) of the national team smiled in front of several players before the start of training, saying, “I won 18 years ago.”
In the group stage of the 2005 Netherlands U-20 World Cup, the Korean national team won a thrilling 2-1 victory over Nigeria with consecutive theater goals from Park Joo-young (38, Ulsan) and Baek Ji-hoon (38, retired) right before the end of the game. Coach Lee (Lee Yo-han of Gaemyeongjeon), who played in the game, gave the players the energy of victory ahead of the match against Nigeria.
The 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup quarterfinal match against Nigeria will be held in Santiago del Estero at 2:30 am on the 5th (Korean time). In the past U-20 World Cup finals, they are tied with 1 win and 1 loss (2-1 win in 2005, 0-1 loss in 2013).
National team coach Kim Eun-joong (44) focused on recovering his physical condition and maintaining a sense of the tactics he had practiced so far, taking into account the tough schedule of two days of rest during the final training session one day before the match against Nigeria.
Coach Kim explained, “In preparation for Nigeria, I focused on reviewing what I had been training for in the past and improving the players’ condition and senses, rather than doing something new that I hadn’t done before.”스포츠토토
Nigeria advanced to the Round of 16 after finishing third in Group F, behind Brazil and Italy in Group F, dubbed the ‘Group of Death’. .
Coach Kim said, “Among the teams we met in this tournament, they seem to have the best power,” and said, “The strikers generally have good strength and speed, and the midfielders have good mid-range shooting skills.” “It is also an advantage that the two players who come out as substitutes in the second half play a clear game changer role and that the game operation changes depending on the time zone,” he said.
Captain Lee Seung-won (20, Gangwon), co-leader in assists with one goal and three assists in this tournament, said, “The Nigerian players are strong and aggressive, so they are threatening.”
Defensive midfielder Lee Chan-wook (20, Gyeongnam), who played in the previous three games, said, “The attackers have excellent individual capabilities, but if they block them well, I don’t think they will concede.” It means that the play depends on the individual skills of the strikers. Lee Chan-wook said, “I am confident in the build-up, but I plan to actively participate in the defense first.”
What is Kim Eun-joong’s strategy for attacking Nigeria? Coach Kim said, “Nigeria has a strong individual tendency rather than an organized defense,” and “if the players know this and move smartly, good results will come out.”
Lee Seung-won said, “As we have done so far, even if we do not have possession of the ball, we can calmly defend and counterattack to attack the space behind the opponent. We can win.”
The key is to recover the players’ physical strength and condition. In this tournament, Korea continues to digest the two-day rest schedule, one day less than the adult World Cup. After 3 matches in the group stage, the only 3-day break was given, but even that schedule was delayed by a day as there was a disruption in the charter flight that FIFA was supposed to provide.
Coach Kim said, “If our players recover well, I think we will be able to bring about results without major problems, and I think we will be able to improve the rest of the time.”
The players are also full of confidence. Lee Chan-wook said, “If we trust our teammates and play with confidence, good results will come because we have our skills,” and “I don’t want to go home soon.” Lee Seung-won also said, “I will definitely win tomorrow.”
Striker Lee Young-joon (20, Sangmu Kim Cheon), who scored the most points in the team with 2 goals and 1 assist, threw a short and bold resolution befitting a soldier.
“I will score a goal tomorrow.”