The South Korean Under-20 National Team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, will face Italy in the semifinals of the U-20 World Cup at 6 a.m. ET on Sept. 9 at La Plata Stadium in La Plata, Argentina. South Korea defeated Ecuador and Nigeria to reach the quarterfinals. Italy defeated England and Colombia to reach the quarterfinals. The winner of this match will face Uruguay.
South Korea started Kim Jun-hong, Choi Ye-hoon, Kim Ji-soo, Choi Seok-hyun, Cho Young-kwang, Bae Jun-ho, Kang Sang-yoon, Lee Seung-won, Park Hyun-bin, Kim Yong-hak, and Lee Young-joon. Italy started with Deflanche, Turricchia, Guarino, Gillardi, Zanotti, Cassaday, Prati, Giovanni, Ambrosino, Baldanchi, and Esposito.
Man of the Match Cassaday opened the scoring. In the 14th minute of the first half, Park Hyun-bin lost a contested pass to Turikia. Cassaday finished with a neat shot to give Italy the lead.
Bae Jun-ho earned a penalty kick (PK). 안전놀이터 In the 18th minute, Zanotti stepped on Bae’s foot as he received a pass inside the penalty box. The initial decision was a normal contest, but the referee declared a PK after video assistant referee (VAR) review. Lee Seung-won took the kick and scored to tie the game at 1-1.
After the tie, the Italian offense took over. South Korea settled into their 4-2-3-1 formation and kept their center of gravity in defense. Italy continued to attack with a pattern of Ambrosino and Esposito moving out wide and Cassaday penetrating into the center, but the Korean defense stopped them.
When things didn’t work out, Italy repeated their rough play. When the Korean players got close to them, they would use their elbows instead of using their skills. When the Koreans counterattacked, they resorted to more rough play to stop them. Esposito was cautioned in the 42nd minute for arguing with the referee, and Zanotti was cautioned in the final minute of the first half for pulling his jersey several times while trying to stop Bae Jun-ho.
There were 15 fouls in the first half alone. South Korea had five. Italy will continue to pressure Korea in the second half by playing rough when it gets urgent. It’s important not to get caught up in the flow. It’s also important to watch out for injuries. On the flip side, we can take advantage of Italy’s rough play to attack. It will be interesting to see what coach Kim Eun-joong will do at halftime.