Lack of a solid defensive midfielder. Kim Eun-joong’s biggest weakness.

Kim Eun-Joong’s South Korea under-20 football team drew 2-2 with Honduras in the second match of Group F of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023 at Estadio Malvinas Argentina in Mendoza, Argentina, at 6:00 a.m. ET on June 26. The result leaves South Korea in second place with one win and one draw (4 points).

Head coach Kim Eun-joong went with a 4-4-2 formation. He placed Kang Sang-yoon next to striker Lee Young-joon, while Kang Sung-jin, Lee Seung-won, Bae Jun-ho, and Kim Yong-hak formed the midfield. It was a fairly aggressive lineup. Everyone in the midfield was a second choice. Despite their attacking talent, they were clearly unfamiliar with the role of being the control tower in the center, holding the center and supporting the center backs.

It was a shaky start. We dropped passes in the third and allowed the Honduran attackers to break through. We conceded a penalty kick (PK) in the 20th minute. They were fortunate to gain a numerical advantage when Luis, who scored the PK, was sent off after a video assistant referee (VAR) review. Korea then went on the offensive and attacked in total, but their defense was shaky in transition. They conceded another goal in the sixth minute of the second half to go down 0-2.

The absence of a defensive midfielder was a big factor. The center backs were the only ones left to carry the load when everyone else went up front. There was no one to act as a first line of defense. In the first match against France, Lee Chan-wook played as a defensive midfielder in the first half and Park Hyun-bin in the second half, but their performance was somewhat disappointing and even Kang Sang-yoon came down to support them in the second half. Rather than bringing either of them back into the starting lineup, coach Kim Eun-joong chose to focus more on offense, and it didn’t pay off.

They showed their fighting spirit and drew level at 2-2. In the 35th minute, Hwang In-taek was brought on to form a back three with Kim Ji-soo and Choi Seok-hyun. With only three defenders left, everyone went on the attack. They were disappointed with their lack of finishing and suffered from Honduran counterattacks. Choi Seok-hyun was warned for trying to commit a foul and was sent off cumulatively. The result was 2-2.먹튀검증

One win and one draw from two group games is encouraging and certainly puts the team in a good position to advance to the round of 16. However, with the recurring absence of a defensive midfielder and an overly attack-oriented style of play, it’s hard to see them going much higher. On top of that, the team will be without starting center back Choi Seok-hyun and reliable goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong for the third leg due to carding.

Lee could trust Lee Chan-wook or Park Hyun-bin again, or he could continue with the unorthodox use of Kang Sang-yoon in defensive midfield at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-20 Asian Cup. Either way, the team needs a defensive midfielder to anchor the back four.

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