After falling to Qatar in a match that marked the start of their quest to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, members of the Korean Under-22 national soccer team vowed to put the disappointment behind them and look ahead to the next match.
“Even though it was a weekday, there were a lot of fans here, and I’m sorry we couldn’t get a result,” said goalkeeper Baek Jong-beom (Seoul) to the media after the first leg of the 2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers Group B match against Qatar at the Changwon Football Center on Saturday. “When we were down 0-1 and had to play catch-up, my mistake put us in a difficult situation, and I’m very sorry.”
The U-22 soccer team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, lost 0-2 against Qatar earlier in the day. The match against the hosts, who have already qualified for next year’s U-23 tournament, does not count towards the qualification standings, but it was a “shocking” defeat for Hwang, who was playing his first match of the tournament, which is the first qualifier for the Paris Olympics.
Baek Jong-beom, who started in goal on the day, was unable to avoid conceding a further goal in the 22nd minute of the second half when he failed to deal with a floated ball after a back-header from an opponent in front of his own goal after South Korea had conceded an early goal.
“We were playing well, controlling the game from the start, but one lapse in concentration led to the first goal,” reflected Baek, who added, “I think the game plan was ruined because of me.”
After the mistake, he said, “I tried to focus even more because I couldn’t make any more mistakes because the team had to keep up.”
After the game, coach Hwang Sun-hong described Baek’s mistake as “decisive” and said, “Everyone can make mistakes. You shouldn’t lose courage and use it as an opportunity to improve.”
After hearing this, Baek Jong-bum said, “I will quickly shake it off and focus on the next game.” “I will quickly shake off the sinking mood and regain my strength to prepare for the remaining two games.”
Uhm Ji-sung (Gwangju), who struggled as the starting flanker, was equally disappointed.
“We created a lot of good shots in the process, but the players couldn’t solve them,” he said, emphasizing, “I think we need to improve in training.”
“After conceding the first goal, we attacked to score a goal, and I think that created a gap that led to the second goal. Personally, I think we were in a hurry,” he said, adding, “We will make up for it through video meetings and other means.”
“Coach Hwang emphasized a lot on individual tactics and positioning even in a short time, but I think this result came about because the players were not able to digest it,” said Uhm Ji Sung. “I think the players should execute exactly the tactics the coach wants.”
Hwang Sun-hong will prepare for matches against Kyrgyzstan on Sept. 9 and Myanmar on Sept. 12. 파워볼사이트