Kim Eun-Joong secured a spot in the Round of 16 with a second-place finish in the group.
The South Korea Under-20 Football Team, led by head coach Kim Eun-Joong, drew 0-0 with the Gambia in their third Group F match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 on Monday (June 29) at 6:00 a.m. ET at the Mendoza Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina.
With one win and two draws in the group, South Korea advances to the round of 16 with five points, second behind the Gambia (seven).
South Korea went into the match with a partially rotated best 11, as starting goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong missed the game due to accumulating cautions and starting center back Choi Seok-hyun was sent off.
The front line was led by striker Lee Young-joon, while the two wingers, Kang Sung-jin and Lee Ji-han, formed the center of the attack. Lee Seung-won, Park Hyun-bin, and Lee Chan-wook formed the midfield, while Kim Ji-soo and Hwang In-taek paired up in the center of defense. Cho Young-kwang and Choi Ye-hoon were the sidebacks. Moon Hyun-ho was the starting goalkeeper.
South Korea entered the match with four points from their previous two matches, having already qualified for the round of 16 with a 1-1 draw. The Gambia also had six points after two straight wins. Both teams played cautiously with their final rankings still undecided.
Compared to the last match against Honduras, there was a sense of stability. Unlike games one and two, the two sidebacks, Cho Young-kwang and Choi Ye-hoon, were in the starting lineup, and the overall ball circulation and defensive concentration remained at a high level.
There was a fierce battle at the back throughout the match. South Korea, who will clinch first place with a draw, and The Gambia looked to steady possession and create chances rather than forcing attacks. In a cautious game, neither team was able to create a decisive scoring chance.
The Gambia got into the penalty box more often and took advantage of their opportunities, totaling six shots on goal.
South Korea did not have a noticeable attacking pattern, except in the 11th minute when Kang Sung-jin collected the ball from a corner kick and threatened the goal with a sharp shot.
At the start of the second half, South Korea made a change in midfield. Lee Seung-won went out and Kang Sang-yoon came in. The change was made to keep the team fresh for the round of 16.
There was a crisis early in the second half. In the second minute of the second half, goalkeeper Moon Hyun-ho saved a powerful header from Adama Bojang with his body. Three minutes later, Mansour Mbiye’s attempt from the left side of the box was headed straight at the keeper.
After the early stages of the second half, South Korea came out aggressively and enjoyed more time on the ball as their attack from the left and right flanks came alive. In the 12th minute of the second half, South Korea took off Kang Sung-jin and Lee Chan-wook and introduced Bae Joon-ho and Kim Yong-hak to strengthen their offense.
With the game tightly contested, South Korea found themselves in danger of conceding in the 22nd minute. Salifu Kohli’s shot from inside the box hit the goalpost after deflecting off the hands of Moon Hyun-ho. It was a disappointing moment for the defense, which failed to actively interfere with the opponent’s shots in the box. In the 25th minute of the second half, South Korea scored again through Bo Bo, but the goal was disallowed due to clear offside. 안전놀이터
With the offense not coming alive, South Korea made another change in the 21st minute of the second half, taking off Lee Ji-han and bringing on Lee Seung-jun.
There was a lull after that, and the game ended without a goal.
South Korea, who finished second in Group F, will face Ecuador, who finished second in Group B, in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, at 6 a.m. on Nov. 2 for a spot in the quarterfinals.