Kim Eun-Joong-ho was the ace in the hole in the K League.
Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon Hana Citizen, 20) led the South Korea Under-20 soccer team to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup. He had a slow start to the tournament, missing time due to injury, but showed his true colors in the crucial first stage of the tournament.
Bae started against Ecuador in the round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Santiago del Estero Stadium in Argentina on June 2 at 6 a.m. ET, scoring a goal and adding an assist to help Korea advance to the quarterfinals with a 3-2 victory.
Starting on the flank, Bae made his presence felt in the 11th minute. He attacked from the left side and delivered a sharp cross to Munjeon instead of passing to the flank. Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon Commerce), who dug into the back of the defense, chest-trapped Bae Jun-ho’s cross and connected with a right-footed shot for the first goal.
Eight minutes later, Bae Jun-ho took matters into his own hands. After a throw-in, he met Park Chang-woo’s (Jeonbuk Hyundai) straight pass from the right flank with an exquisite right-footed trap. He then broke down the opposing defense and goalkeeper in the center of the penalty box with a painting run, and rattled the net with his right foot. It was the perfect example of Bae’s talent.
Bae Jun-ho continued to play at the center of Kim Eun-jung-ho’s attack until he was replaced by Cho Young-kwang (FC Seoul) in the 37th minute of the second half. Despite conceding a late goal after Bae Jun-ho’s departure, the match ended with a 3-2 victory for South Korea. After the match, FIFA said, “Bae Joon-ho was outstanding as South Korea advanced to the quarterfinals.”
The performance was even more significant as it shook off the disappointments of the early stages of the tournament.
Bae Jun-ho has been the most consistently called up since Kim Eun-jung-ho’s inauguration, playing as an ace early on, with his number 10 symbolizing the ace. Especially this season, his second year as a professional and first in the K League 1, he was a starter for his club. With his brilliant passing and individual skills, he was quickly recognized as one of the top divinities in the K League. He was also virtually the only player in the tournament to make regular appearances in the K League. This was the reason why he was the favorite ahead of the U-20 World Cup 메이저사이트.
However, injuries seemed to catch up with him. He started the first group game against Honduras, but was subbed off early in the second half due to the effects of the injury, and then came on as a substitute against the Gambia in the round of 16.
Fortunately, as time went on, he shook off the injury and his performance slowly improved, and it was in the round of 16 match against Ecuador that his talent shone through. Not only did he set up Lee Young-joon for the opening goal, but his second goal, which he scored himself, showed his unique flair.
The presence of a fully fit Bae Joon-ho has also been a boost for Kim Eun-jung-ho, who is the only Asian player still in the tournament. Frontline striker Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon Commerce) has two goals and one assist, while Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense) and Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC) have also been steady. With the addition of ace Bae Joon-ho, Kim’s spear is even sharper.
Bae told the Korea Football Association shortly after the game, “I had a lot of injuries, so I felt sorry for my teammates. I thought about playing hard rather than doing well, but there were good results.” “After I was substituted, I trusted my friends and teammates and cheered them on. No matter who my opponent is, I will do my best to prepare well and show a good game like I have been doing so far.”
Kim will face Nigeria in the quarterfinals at the same Santiago del Estero Stadium that hosted Ecuador at 2:30 a.m. on May 5. If they beat the Nigerians, they will play the winner of the Italy-Colombia match for a spot in the final.