In La Plata, Argentina, where the quarterfinal match was played, the local population flocked to the stadium to cheer on the young Taeguk warriors.
The atmosphere was as electric as any home game in Korea, with large Korean flags unfurled in the stands to energize the players.
Korea conceded the first goal in the 14th minute when top scorer Cassaday failed to block a shot.
However, in the 23rd minute, captain Lee Seung-won calmly converted a penalty kick from Bae Jun-ho to equalize.
In the second half, Bae Joon-ho’s brilliant individual effort led to a second goal, but Lee Young-joon’s shot went wide.
Then, in the 41st minute, they fell victim to an exquisite free kick from 17-year-old Papundi.
Goalkeeper Kim Jun-hong could only stand and watch the ball, unable to stop it.
Despite the rough soccer of Italy, who committed a whopping 26 fouls, more than twice as many as we did, the players didn’t give up until the end.
But they couldn’t find the winning goal, losing 2-1 and not making it to the final.
The first loss in six games of the tournament, the players laid on the ground, unable to raise their heads.
[Kim Jun-hong, U20 national soccer team: “The players did their best and played in front of us… but we are disappointed…”]
Kim Eun-joong, who led his team to the quarterfinals with a performance that exceeded expectations, was also disappointed.메이저놀이터
[Kim Eun-joong, U20 coach: “I want to thank (the players) because they gave more than 100 percent. We created good chances, but because we lost, I think I and the players are left with a lot of regrets.”]
The team’s challenge is not over yet.
The players are determined to win the third place match against Israel on the 12th.
I’m Seonwoo Park, reporting for KBS News from La Plata.