The South Korean U-20s will face Ecuador in the Round of 16.
The Republic of Korea U-20 Football Team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, drew 0-0 with “surprise team” Gambia in their third Group F match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Monday (July 29).
After defeating France and drawing with Honduras, South Korea finished the group stage with one win and two draws (P5), finishing 안전놀이터 second in Group F behind the Gambia (2W1D-7P). This is the third consecutive round of 16 appearance.
The tournament features 24 nations divided into six groups, with the top four teams from the first and second place finishers in each group advancing to the round of 16.
The team used a partial rotation to preserve the health of key players, and by finishing second in their group, they avoided Brazil in the round of 16. It’s a satisfying result for a team that will be hoping for more than just the round of 16.
Next up for the team is Ecuador.
South Korea will face Ecuador (second place in Group B) on June 2 at 6 a.m. at Santiago del Estero Stadium. With a record of 2-1-1 (6 points), South Korea qualified for the round of 16 by finishing second in Group B.
The national team has favorable memories with Ecuador at the U-20 World Cup. The team reached the final in Poland in 2019 after defeating Ecuador 1-0 in the quarterfinals. Choi Jun scored the winning goal after receiving a pass from Lee Kang-in.
Ecuador has scored a whopping 11 goals in their three group games. They poured in nine goals against Fiji in their third Group B match. Watch out for 2004-born striker Justin Cuero, who scored three goals.
The team’s organization and defensive prowess, which helped them hold Group F winner The Gambia to a goalless draw despite rotating their lineup, will be key to their success in Ecuador.
Looking at the U-20 World Cup Round of 16 bracket, South Korea will face the winner of the Argentina-Nigeria match if they make it past Ecuador to the quarterfinals. Objective strength of schedule favors Argentina, the hosts and “favorite” to win the group.
Japan, meanwhile, finished third in Group C (1W, 2L, 3G), the last of six third-place teams, and was eliminated from the group. This is the first time in 22 years that Japan has been eliminated in the group stage of a U-20 World Cup.