K-Leaguers, the stars of the FIFA U20 World Cup 2023 quarterfinal myth, revealed the “final” story behind Lee Seung-won’s (Gangwon) stake in the Bronze Ball and how Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon) got his big speaker.
The KFA held the ‘U20 World Cup K-Leaguers Media Day’ at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies on the 21st. Goalkeepers Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon), Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon), Lee Seung-won, and Bae Jun-ho attended the media day.
On the day, the players expressed their feelings about starting a new chapter after the U20 World Cup and shared interesting behind-the-scenes stories related to the tournament.
“I’ll take 20% and buy you a meal” vs. “I’ll take 50%, but it’ll be expensive”
At the World Cup, Lee won the Bronze Ball for his three goals and four assists. This was a significant achievement, as it was more offensive points than the 2019 Golden Ball winner Lee Kang-in (Mallorca)’s 2 goals and 4 assists.
However, his share of the Bronze Ball was controversial. Bae Joon-ho, another star of the tournament, jokingly said at a press conference organized by his club, “I scored the penalty kick that (Lee) Seung-won scored twice, so I have a 50 percent share of the Bronze Ball”.
Lee Seung-won also had the opportunity to express his views at an event organized by his club, where he said, “I made the pass that led to the penalty kick. (Bae) Junho’s shareholding is about 20 percent.” He had a different opinion.
The two met at the media day and began discussing their shareholding.
Lee said, “It’s true that I have a 20% stake. But since me and Junho worked together and made a lot of good scenes, I’ll buy rice instead.” Bae Junho agreed, saying, “I think I have a 50% share, but I’ll pay for the rice instead.” The two agreed.
Why was Lee Young Joon’s cell phone taken away by the coaching staff?
Kim Eun Joong Ho’s mood maker was Lee Young Joon. With a positive personality and a funny mouth, he led the locker room atmosphere at the tournament, even carrying a large speaker. It is said that his upbeat songs helped the team rise to the top.
But here’s where an unexpected “generation conflict” arose. Lee’s fast and loud singing was not to the liking of the coaching staff.
“Coach Kim Eun Joong even took my phone away from me, saying, ‘You should hear the lyrics in your sleep,'” he reveals, adding, “But the song the coaching staff chose wasn’t bad,” which makes us laugh.
Lee’s roommate Bae Joon-ho said, “(Lee) has a routine of playing a song loudly before the game,” adding that Lee’s fast-paced music suits the players better.
◇ Boys who didn’t get the attention they deserved to prove themselves
The U20 national team was flying under the radar when they left for the World Cup. But when they returned home with gold after reaching the quarterfinals, the reaction was completely different. At the welcome ceremony at Incheon Airport, more than 300 fans showed up with placards and bouquets of flowers, and the media packed the room.
As young athletes, they might have been disappointed or sad at first. However, the athletes were unperturbed by the indifference and were quietly cleaning their swords.
“We didn’t get much attention before the tournament, but we knew that all of our players had good skills,” said Bae Joon-ho. “We didn’t pay much attention to the indifference and went out with the mindset that we had to prove it at the tournament,” he said.
“We decided that this World Cup was a chance to ‘change our lives,’ and we talked a lot about preparing well,” said Lee Young-joon, adding, “There was a lot of talk about our team’s lack of recognition, but now we have a lot of fans who recognize us and a lot of articles.”
◇ Now dreaming of the national team
After playing their last game for the national team in the U20 tournament, the players are now dreaming of making the leap to the U23 or A team.
On the 29th, the A team played an exhibition match against El Salvador, and the U20 players were invited to watch and learn from their ‘seniors’.
Lee Seung-won said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the A team play. I learned a lot from watching Lee Kang-in play. I hope to play with Lee in the future. Now that I know what it’s like to realize a long-held dream, I want to fulfill that dream as well.”
Frontline striker Lee Young-joon also looked up to the seniors in his position. “Hwang Eui-jo (Seoul), Oh Hyun-gyu (Celtic), and Cho Kyu-sung (Jeonbuk) all have their own colors. I want to be a player with such a color, and I promised myself that if I make use of my strengths, such a day will definitely come.”바카라
Meanwhile, Kim Jun-hong said, “After the U20 tournament, I had a meal with the local community. One of them thanked me, saying, ‘I didn’t have anything to show my child (in Argentina), but you gave him a good experience of Korea. I was impressed that I was able to make people feel the importance of Korea,” he said, sharing his feelings of weight and joy as a national team member.