Go Team Korea!Few expected the U-20 men’s national team would go this far when head coach Chung Jung-yong vowed to go as far as possible after the national team defeated Japan.
Even making the round 16 was meaningful. But the squad moved onto the quarterfinals and then the semifinals with four stunning wins over Argentina, South Africa, Japan, Senegal and finally a fifth over Ecuador in the final game before the championship on Sunday.
The Korean team is just one game short of making history for Korean soccer if it defeats Ukraine in two days.
Chung’s coaching must be credited for achieving this unbelievable feat. His strategy of saving energy in the first half and diverse field tactics stood out. Moreover, he has succeeded in uniting his team. That spirit aims to bring out the best in every player. Valencia center-fielder Lee Kang-in proved his worth, but everyone else — goalie Lee Gwang-yeon, forwards Oh Se-hun and Cho Young-wook, and defenders Lee Ji-sol, as well as Choi Jun who scored the winning goal against Ecuador — have been priceless. Each player did his part and assisted the others to do their best until the final whistle.
Chung utilized the entire squad, including the substitutes, and pulled out Lee during the final minutes to ensure the entire team performed its best until the last second.
Such open and bold leadership, coupled with fearless Korean players, have cumulated in such a stunning achievement. The young Taeguk Warriors are not intimidated by the taller, bulkier and experienced players from major European leagues. They took over the whole field and played with confidence and joy against every opponent they faced.
We are cheering for the boys as they head to their final game at Lodz Stadium in Lodz, Poland. They do not have to come home with the top trophy. They have already made every Korean proud. Do your best and enjoy it until the end.
JoongAng Ilbo, June 13, Page 30