The 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup is approaching in a month. The U-20 national team, led by coach Kim Eun-joong, also began tempering at the last minute.

The national team was convened on the 24th at the Paju NFC (National Soccer Team Training Center). After three days of training, the national team will check their skills by holding practice matches against Incheon United on the 25th and Incheon National University on the 26th.

The first goal of the World Cup is to advance to the round of 16 three times in a row. Korea reached the round of 16 at the tournament held in their country in 2017, and in Poland in 2019, Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), Oh Se-hoon (Shimizu), and Jo Young-wook (Gimcheon) took the runner-up.

Korea was placed in Group F along with France, Honduras and Gambia at the World Cup. Head coach Kim Eun-joong said, “Every country participating in the World Cup is equipped with their strength. It is not easy to judge hastily. There is no natural victory or natural advancement.”

Coach Kim Eun-joong called a total of 25 players in this call. Initially, he selected 26 players mainly for whom the K-League club cooperated in the selection, but Cho Jae-hoon (Pohang) and Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk) did not participate at the request of their team. Instead, striker Park Joon-young (Seoul E-Land) was additionally on board.

All 25 players of the squad showed up at the training ground without any injuries. After warming up with simple jogging and stretching, they were divided into teams wearing red vests, green vests, and no vests, and moved their bodies vigorously.스포츠토토

The team did not forget to train teamwork, such as exchanging the ball with one touch as the three teams were mixed together. Michael Müller, head of the national team’s power reinforcement committee, also watched the training for a while and talked.

Coach Kim Eun-joong also started to cover the boulders, watching the players with a hawk’s eye. He said, “I didn’t simply select one or two games. I’ve been preparing since last year, but I picked a lot of players who weren’t selected in the meantime,” he said. 

In particular, it is a golden opportunity to impress new faces such as Lee Seung-jun (FC Seoul) and Jung Ji-hoon (Gwangju FC). 

After disbanding on the 26th, Kim Eun-joong will gather again at NFC on the 1st of next month for five days of final training. Afterwards, he will leave for Argentina on the 7th immediately after announcing the final entry of 21 players.

The key is jet lag. With less than two months left before the tournament, Indonesia was stripped of the right to host it, and the venue was changed to Argentina on the other side of the globe. The time difference between Argentina and Korea is 12 hours. Director Kim Eun-joong also emphasized, “The biggest problem with the change of venue is the time difference.”

Originally, coach Kim Eun-jung was scheduled to go to Argentina as soon as this call was over and inspect the base camp and stadium. However, according to an official from the Korea Football Association, Kim Eun-joong plans to set up a camp together on the 7th without a separate field trip.

Although it is not yet confirmed, the national team arrives in Argentina and conducts local adaptation training before entering Mendoza, where the first match will be held. 

Korea’s first confrontation will be strong France. Korea will play the first round of Group F against France at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas Stadium on the 23rd. Manager Kim Eun-jung said, “France is always a candidate for the championship. I happened to watch the match between France and Japan. As expected, the team has very good physical and individual skills.”

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