East Asia Korea

Only one shot on target: South Korea struggles at the FIFA U-20 World Cup

written by Il-han Ryu

Football Tribe Korea


You cannot win if you do not take advantage of opportunities, no matter how many opportunities you get.


South Korea faced Portugal in their Group F opener at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019.

Head coach Jeong Jeong-yong chose to focus more on defense against the competition’s favorite Portugal. However, the team still pressed the opponent hard, with Valencia youngster Lee Kang-in as a key player.

A punishing counterattack on seven minutes however gave Portugal the lead as Trincao found the net after tearing through a center of Korean defense.

Korea struggled against physically strong Portugal that excelled at fast and accurate counterattacks. The 188cm-forward Rafael Leão threatened Korean defenders with his naturally talented agility and resilience.

However, the Asian side found the stability; however, the team failed to seize counterattacking opportunities, having recorded no attempt on target in the first half.

The team came out stronger in the second half. Lee Kang-in marked a left-footed effort from outside the box but was saved by Portugal goalkeeper Joao Virginia. It later turned out to be the only shot on target from Jeong’s side.

Jeong put in Uhm Won-sang and Oh Se-hoon to take advantage of their speed in attacking situations. The problem, however, was the passing inaccuracy. The team could not seize the counterattacking opportunity while Portugal missed a few changes. Statistically, Korea recorded 63% of passing accuracy; Portugal, 83%.

You have to score a goal to win in football. That is why you need to grab chances, which South Korea failed in this match. As a result, the team lost 0:1.

The team will face South Africa on 29 May.