In his seventh FIFA U-17 World Cup, Byun Sung-hwan hung his head in shame as he found the back of the net in back-to-back group games. To advance to the knockout stages, South Korea will need to play what coach Byun calls “active football” in their final games. In fact, there’s only one spot left, but it’s a tough one.
Byun’s U-17 team will face Burkina Faso (4th place, 0 points, 0 goals for, -4 against) in the final Group E match of the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup at the International Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia on June 18 at 9 p.m. ET.
In order to advance to the round of 16, Byun Sung-hwan must first defeat Burkina Faso. The third-ranked South Koreans (0W, 0D, -3L) previously lost back-to-back matches against the United States (1-3 L) on Sept. 12 and France (0-1 L) on Sept. 15. At the U-17 World Cup, the top two teams from each of the six groups and the four best third-place finishers advance to the round of 16, meaning South Korea must win their final game to reach the round of 16, pending the outcome of the other groups.
As of the 17th, there is effectively only one spot left for Byunsung Hwanho. Group C Iran – Group D Japan (6+) The Japanese remained in third place despite winning their final group game, but advanced to the round of 16 on higher points. Japan beat fellow group member Senegal 2-0, while Iran also defeated New Caledonia. Group B’s third-place finisher Uzbekistan (4 points) will also advance.
All eyes turn to Group F’s matchup between Mexico (P1) and New Zealand (P0). The best-case scenario is for both teams to draw and for South Korea to beat Burkina Faso. However, with the Group F matches taking place before South Korea’s, their chances of advancing to the round of 16 could be eliminated early. If Mexico wins, it’s impossible for South Korea to advance to the round of 16.
This is South Korea’s seventh appearance at the U-17 World Cup. The tournament is held every two years, with the last edition canceled due to COVID-19. Byun Sung-Hwan-ho qualified for the World Cup by finishing runner-up at the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-17 Asian Cup in June. The team’s 15 goals in six games drew attention to its attacking style of play. 무지개토토
Heading into the World Cup, Byun’s approach hasn’t changed. “No matter which team we meet, we will play active soccer to dominate the game,” Byun said. South Korea’s best result at the U-17 World Cup was a quarterfinal finish from 1987-2009 and 2019.
However, Byun’s team lost their first game against the United States after a defensive collapse despite firing 24 shots on goal. In the second game against France, the team took the lead, but after conceding an early goal, they were unable to find the back of the net due to frequent passing errors. They were also unlucky to hit the post three times in two games. Byun Sung-hwan, who was touted as an ‘attacking footballer’, scored only one goal. The red light is on for the round of 16.
The odds are stacked against them, and they’ll have to wait and see how the other groups fare, and in some cases, win.