Korean soccer wrote an amazing history four years ago. He finished runner-up at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Poland. Although they failed to win the championship for the first time in history because they failed to surpass Ukraine, Korea’s performance was strong, and Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) was awarded the Golden Ball안전놀이터, meaning the best player in the tournament.
After some time, ‘U-20 Kim Eun-joong’ inherited the baton. The team, which left for field training in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is ahead of the U-20 World Cup, which will be held in four cities in Argentina from the 21st to the 12th of next month (Korean time). Korea, which belongs to Group F in the group stage, competes with France (23rd), Honduras (26th), and Gambia (29th) to advance to the tournament.
In the U-20 national team, which dreams of a special myth once again while looking at the highest possible place, the one who is particularly looking forward to is ‘Ace’ Bae Jun-ho (20, Daejeon Hana Citizen). Some of the key strikers, including European players Lee Hyeon-joo (Bayern Munich) and Seong Jin-yeong (Korea University), were injured and their shoulders became even more heavy.
However, Bae Jun-ho’s potential is limitless. Although he prefers a second-line striker, he can play various roles as an attacker from the side, center, and front.
Bae Jun-ho, who played 10 games in the K-League 2 last season, including the promotion playoffs (PO 2 games), quickly adapted to the K-League 1 and played 7 games. The only offensive point was one goal in the regular league last year, but coach Lee Min-seong Daejeon Hana considers him a regular resource, not an under-22 (U-22) card.
He also quickly melted into ‘U-20 Kim Eun-joong’. He played the most impressive play at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-20 Asian Cup in March, which also served as a regional qualifier for the tournament. This is the reason coach Kim praised Bae Jun-ho, saying, “The team has grown the most and has steadily improved.”
Moreover, the U-20 national team has a distinct Achilles heel. It is a lack of experience and practical sense. Even though most of them were in the K-League team, no one was classified as a regular member like Bae Jun-ho. This means that while dominating the game, you have to carry out all the missions to set the mood and change the flow of the game.
“I may be able to do it like senior Lee Kang-in, but I have a duty to do and a share,” he said, “I will be as active as possible in the attack. I want to try a lot of shots and improve in many ways. Performance from four years ago cannot be a burden. We can do it too,” he said without hiding his will to grow. Like Lee Kang-in, who shined in Poland, the time for Bae Jun-ho to soar in Argentina is approaching.