Taeguk Ladies return home after crashing out of World Cup

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Taeguk Ladies return home after crashing out of World Cup

Members of the Korean women’s national football team returned home Wednesday following its group stage exit at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.


Korean women’s football team poses for a photo at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday, after returning to Korea from the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. [YONHAP]

Coached by Yoon Duk-yeo, Korea bowed out of the competition with three consecutive losses in Group A. The team lost to host France 4-0 on June 7 and then was blanked by Nigeria 2-0 five days later.

On Monday, holding on to fading hopes of qualifying for the round of 16, Korea lost to Norway 2-1. Forward Yeo Min-ji scored the country’s only goal of the tournament midway through the second half of the contest.

Korea finished last in its group. The top two nations from each of the six groups, plus four best third-place teams, will advance to the knockout round.

Korea was trying to make it to the round of 16 for the second consecutive World Cup, but it lacked a finishing touch on offense and discipline on defense.

“When we faced the hosts France in the first match, our players were too nervous and they didn’t play up to their ability,” Yoon told reporters at Incheon International Airport. “But that’s all part of the learning process. There’s no such thing as bad experience. This will lay groundwork for our players to grow further.”

Yoon said he was concerned about the relatively shallow talent pool among younger players. His key players - such as Cho So-hyun (124 caps) and Ji So-yun (119 caps) - will be in their early to mid 30s by the next World Cup, and Yoon would like to see an infusion of younger blood in the near future.

“Today, there is a considerable gap in talent between the veteran core and the younger group, and we have to address that quickly,” Yoon said. “Just because you’re young, that doesn’t mean you can be part of the next wave. You have to be good. We need to have the next Ji So-yun and next Cho So-hyun.”

The women’s team is trying to schedule a friendly away match at some point in the second half of the year. In December, Korea will host the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship in the southeastern metropolitan city of Busan.

Korea will face North Korea, China and Japan in the round-robin competition from Dec. 10 to 17. At the previous E-1 championship in 2017 in Japan, Korea finished in fourth place after losing to all three of those nations.

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