Korea earned a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2023 U-20 World Cup Thursday, edging out Ecuador in a thrilling 3-2 victory at the Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades in Santiago del Estero, Argentina.
Korea took an early lead with goals from Lee Young-jun in the 11th minute and Bae Jun-ho in the 19th. Right-back Park Chang-woo gave up a penalty in the 36th minute, allowing Ecuador to gain one back, but the young Taeguk Warriors still entered the break up 2-1.
Choi Seok-hyun added another for Korea just minutes after play restarted, heading in a set piece off a corner to take the score to 3-1. Ecuador got one back in the 84th minute, but the damage was already done and it was Korea that booked a ticket to the quarterfinals.
As the team has throughout the tournament, Korea relied on precision and accuracy for the win. Ecuador controlled the vast majority of the game — with 70 percent of the possession and 26 shots to Korea’s eight — but the young Taeguk Warriors trusted their defense to hold off the onslaught and capitalized on the opportunities they created.
With the win, Korea advance to face Nigeria in the quarterfinals on Sunday, or at 2:30 a.m. on Monday morning in Korea.메이저놀이터
The winner of that game will go on to face either Colombia or Italy in the semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, the United States face Uruguay in one quarterfinal and Israel take on Brazil in the other.
Korea arrived in Argentina riding on the back of the most successful U-20 World Cup outing the country has ever seen last time around, finishing second in 2019 after losing to Ukraine in the final. Prior to that tournament, Korea had only made it past the quarterfinals once, in 1983.