The 2019 U20 World Cup started just last night in Poland with the opening game strangely between Senegal and Tahiti (Senegal won 3-0). With the reigning champions England failing to qualify we have 100% focus and support for the South Korean U20 side (previous hosts). Korea made it to the Round of 16 two years ago losing 3-1 to Portugal, who they meet again in the group stages this time. They did however claim a famous victory over Argentina, a result they’ll be looking to repeat this time as well.
Here is my quick preview, the squad plus kick off times for all three group stage games in Seoul Time / Korea Time;
2019 U20 World Cup – South Korea Group Stage Preview
(note kick off times are Seoul Time, not local time)
South Korea were drawn into Group F with Portugal, Argentina and South Africa. They lost to Portugal two years ago in the knockout round, but beat Argentina in the Group Stages. They’ve not played South Africa before at the U20 World Cup.
Game 1 – Portugal
They start against Portugal and this will be a tough game against the U19 European Champions. They know Portugal will be hungry to get off to a strong start, so a defensive approach will be a good idea. A draw would be a strong result here.
Game 2 – South Africa
This is must win, South Africa finished third in the U20 African Cup of Nations and won’t be an easy team to beat. However if Korea want to progress they need to beat them, whilst also saving a little for their final game.
Game 3 – Argentina
The final game is against Argentina. The South Americans finished runners-up in the recent U20 Championship to gain qualification. They are a solid side and like Portugal a team that Korea might need to settle for a point against in order to progress to the knockout stages.
Overall I see South Korea probably doing enough to progress out of the group stages and matching their performance two years ago. However they might struggle against the likes of Portugal and will need a good result against South Africa in my opinion.
Finally here is the squad for the U20 World Cup (via the KFA). Valencia Winger Lee Kang-in is the biggest name in the squad, along with Kim Jung-min who currently plays for FC Liefering in Austria. Also watch out for Asan Mugunghwa Forward Oh Se-Hun who has had an impressive season to far down in K League 2.
Coverage will be limited due to the time difference between here and Poland, but I’ll try my best with updates.
Any thoughts, comments or questions. Feel free to comment below or message me via Twitter.