‘We’re creating myths again’ South Korea soccer reaches round of 16 for third straight tournament, Japan shock exit

South Korea soccer has advanced to the round of 16 at the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) U-20 World Cup for the third consecutive tournament. The Koreans booked their place in the round of 16 early, regardless of the outcome of their one remaining game, as fellow group member Japan suffered a shocking upset loss to Israel.

The Japan national football team lost 1-2 to Israel in their third Group C match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina on Monday (Aug. 28).

The result puts them through to the round of 16 regardless of the outcome of their remaining match against The Gambia, who have one win and one draw in Group F with four points. Earlier, South Korea won its first group game against France 2-1 before playing Honduras to a 2-2 draw in the second game despite an 11:10 numerical advantage. South Korea will play their third group game against Gambia at 6 a.m. on Sept. 29 at the Mendoza Stadium.

In fact, South Korea’s chances of advancing to the round of 16 were very good. A draw against the Gambia would have allowed them to qualify for the round of 16 on their own, and even if they lost, they still had a very good chance of advancing. If France defeated Honduras, South Korea would finish second in the group, and if Honduras defeated France, South Korea would still qualify for the round of 16 as long as the Gambia did not lose by more than six goals.

Members of the South Korea U-20 national team. /Photo courtesy of the Korea Football Association
Japan Shock’s upset leaves two third-place teams with three points, while South Korea, with four points, is among the top four teams in the group.
A total of 24 countries participated in the tournament. The top two teams from each group advanced to the Round of 16. In addition, the top four best-performing teams from the top six in each group will join the Round of 16. South Korea needed only two third-place finishers with fewer than four points to qualify for the round of 16, which they already had. Slovakia, the third-place finisher in Pool B, and Japan, the third-place finisher in Pool C, both had three points.

In Pool B, the United States topped the standings with three wins and nine points, followed by Ecuador with two wins and one loss for six points, and Slovakia with three wins and one loss for three points. In fourth place is Fiji with three games to play.

In the day’s other Group C match, Japan suffered a 1-2 upset loss to Israel. Japan took a 1-0 lead into halftime when Isa Sakamoto scored in first-half stoppage time. Israel even had a numerical advantage in the second half when Ran Binyamin was sent off in the 21st minute for accumulating cautions, but conceded an equalizer in the 31st minute through Aaron Roy Nabi and a theatrical goal in the first minute of second-half stoppage time through Omer Senior. The result puts Japan in third place and in danger of elimination, with Colombia (2 wins, 1 draw, 7 points) in first place and Israel (1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss, 4 points) in second. Senegal is fourth with two draws and one loss (two points).

After failing to qualify for four consecutive tournaments since 2009, Japan reached the round of 16 at the 2017 and 2019 tournaments. However, they will now have to wait and see how the rest of Group E plays out. For now, England leads Group E with six points (two wins and no losses), while Uruguay and Tunisia are tied for second and third with one point apiece. For Japan, the best-case scenario is for England to beat Iraq in their final group game to clinch first place with nine points, and for one of Uruguay or Tunisia to win big. If Uruguay and Tunisia draw, Japan would be eliminated because they would be tied on four points.토토사이트

South Korea has reached the round of 16 in three consecutive tournaments after reaching the last 16 in the 2017 edition on home soil. They had to settle for the round of 16 at the 2017 tournament, but finished as runners-up at the 2019 tournament in Poland and have now reached the round of 16 in three consecutive tournaments in Argentina, showing that they are an Asian powerhouse. Speaking to the Korea Football Association (KFA) ahead of the match, Kim said, “Recovery is the most important thing right now because we have to give 100% against the Gambia. We will recover well and give our best effort,” he said.