South Korea’s Under-20 (U-20) soccer team kept its pride alive by becoming the only Asian nation to reach the quarterfinals of the 2023 U-20 World Cup.
The South Korean U-20 team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament with a 3-2 victory over Ecuador in the Round of 16 at the Santiago del Estero Stadium in Argentina on Sunday (Feb. 2).
South Korea is the only Asian nation to reach the quarterfinals at this year’s World Cup.
Initially, four Asian nations were represented at the U-20 World Cup – South Korea, Japan, Uzbekistan, and Iraq – with South Korea and Uzbekistan reaching the round of 16, while Japan and Iraq both failed to advance past the group stage.
Iraq, who were drawn in Group E with England, Uruguay, and Tunisia, finished last with just one point (a draw), while Japan, who went 1-1-2 in Group C, finished last of the six teams in the top three and did not qualify for a wild card.
Uzbekistan, who finished second in Group A behind hosts Argentina, packed it in after conceding a late theater goal to Israel in their round of 16 match, losing 0-1.
Defending Asian pride, South Korea will try to reach the quarterfinals for the second straight tournament in 2019.
The atmosphere is reminiscent of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. Back then, South Korea became the only Asian nation to reach the quarterfinals after defeating Italy in the round of 16, thanks to a golden goal from Chung Dong-hwan in stoppage time.
In the quarterfinal against Spain, a card section titled “Pride of Asia” was displayed at the Gwangju World Cup Stadium. The momentum carried the Taegeuk Warriors to a penalty shootout victory over Spain to advance to the quarterfinals 스포츠토토.
The U20s, who have once again become the pride of Asia, will face Nigeria in the quarterfinals on May 5.
If they beat Nigeria in the quarterfinals, they will play the winner of the Colombia-Italy match in the semifinals at 6 a.m. on Sept. 9 in La Plata.