Italy was also a team with a very stable offensive-defensive balance. It’s fair to say that even though our players missed out on a ticket to the final, they learned a great lesson as they will have to play bigger games in the future. They realized that while motivation and a passionate attitude are essential on the soccer field, they must be accompanied by a sense of calmness.
The South Korean U-20 men’s soccer team, led by Kim Eun-joong, lost 1-2 in the semifinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 against Italy at the La Plata Stadium in Argentina at 6 a.m. ET on Friday (Sept. 9), ending the tournament with a third-place match.
A calm second half for Italy
It was a very interesting first half. Just 13 minutes and 48 seconds into the game, Italy scored the first goal of the tournament when our players gained possession of the ball close to the sideline and immediately lost it, allowing Riccardo Turricchia to play a lateral pass to Cesare Cassaday, the tournament’s leading scorer, who slotted home a right-footed shot.
Not to be deterred, our players pulled a goal back less than nine minutes later, setting the tone for an exciting second semifinal. About five minutes after the goal, left wing striker Bae Joon-ho was awarded a penalty kick after being fouled by Mattia Zanotti. Captain Lee Seung-won stepped up to the plate and converted with his right foot at 22:38.
From then on, until the end of the first half, the Italian players were frequently agitated and two players received unnecessary warnings. Giuseppe Ambrosino, a physically fit striker, was shown a yellow card for an unsportsmanlike act of throwing the ball at Park Hyun-bin (43rd minute), and fullback Mattia Zanotti, who was following Bae Joon-ho relentlessly, was shown a yellow card for a blatant grabbing foul (45+4th minute).
On the other hand, our players were able to go into the second half with the idea of capitalizing on the over-enthusiasm of some of their opponents. However, there was a noticeable difference in the second half attitude of the Italian players. I could tell that they had a special order to stay cool, calm, and collected at halftime. In fact, the Italians were so focused that Giacomo Patacanti only received one more card in the six minutes of second-half stoppage time, when the game was almost decided.
It was our players who showed a rather impatient defensive attitude in the crucial moments of the second half. In the 85th minute, an indiscreet foul in a dangerous area just outside the penalty area half circle gave us a direct free kick. Considering that the Italian players, who were often excited in the first half, changed their attitude towards the opponents in the second half, it can be said that our players showed impatience in reverse. 안전놀이터
About three minutes ago, Italy’s left-footed ace Baldanchi was sent to the bench, but his replacement, Simone Papundi, is just as much of a left-footed specialist. Several of our players piled up in defense, but Papundi’s left-footed curling kick sailed effortlessly over our defense and into the top right corner, where goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong, who was lined up on the goal line, couldn’t even get a hand to it. In terms of defensive concentration, it was a moment that required more calmness than passionate will.
In response, coach Kim Eun-joong brought on Bae Seo-joon and Hwang In-taek, but they were unable to find a second equalizer. With this, our players will play their final game for the third place against the surprise team of the tournament, Israel, on Monday, December 12 at 2:30 am at the same venue.