Next up for Kim Eun-joong’s South Korea U20 soccer team is Italy, who have reached the quarterfinals three times in a row. The Italians have plenty of offensive talent, including Cesare Cassaday, the U20 World Cup’s leading scorer.
After reaching the U20 World Cup quarterfinals, South Korea will face Italy at 6 a.m. ET on June 9 at La Plata Stadium in La Plata, Argentina.
South Korea are the first Asian nation to reach the semifinals of two consecutive U20 World Cups, following their semifinal appearance in Poland in 2019, where Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) played a key role.
Their next opponents, Italy, are no pushovers. The Italians have reached the quarterfinals three times in a row, finishing third in South Korea in 2017 and fourth in Poland in 2019.
While European teams don’t usually bring their full strength to the U20 World Cup, the Azzurri have shown their ambition to win the tournament by fielding a full roster for each event. This time around, they are looking to surpass their best result in 2017 and reach the top of the podium for the first time ever.
The Italians were drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Brazil and Nigeria, but survived with two wins and one loss. They defeated Brazil 3-2 and the Dominican Republic 3-0. They lost 0-2 to Nigeria, who South Korea beat in the quarterfinals.
They then defeated England 2-1 in the round of 16 and Colombia 3-1 in the quarterfinals to reach the last four.
Leading the Italian offense is Cassaday, who has six goals and two assists. Formerly with Chelsea in the English Premier League (EPL) and currently on loan to Reading in the second tier, Cassaday is very decisive in front of goal.
He scored multi-goal games against Brazil and the Dominican Republic in the group stage, and has scored in both the round of 16 and quarterfinals so far in the tournament. He leads the team in sprints (362), shots (20), and assists (2).
Cassaday is already the most prolific player in Italian U20 World Cup history, surpassing Riccardo Orsolini, who scored five goals at the 2017 tournament in South Korea.
With fellow top scorers Marcos Leonardo (Brazil – 5 goals) and Oscar Cortes (Colombia – 4 goals) all out of the tournament, Cassaday’s chances of becoming the top scorer are very high.
South Korea will need to keep a close eye on Cassaday, who is very focused and decisive.
They will also need to keep Gabriel Giroud, who has made 244 passes and is the starting point of the Italian offense, and Tommaso Baldanza, who is good with crosses.
Italy’s defense is nicknamed the “Comet Defense,” but it is relatively weak compared to their offense. They’ve conceded in all four of their group games, with the exception of the group match against the Dominican Republic, where they were objectively inferior.
In particular, Italy conceded goals against both Nigeria and England because they missed their mark on crosses. South Korea, who have been having fun with a combination of Lee Seung-won’s crosses and Choi Seok-hyun’s headers, will be able to capitalize on that.
Italy also had a nervous breakdown against Colombia that resulted in a group brawl. South Korea will need to be ready for this after being rattled by rough fouls against Nigeria.안전놀이터
South Korea leads the all-time series between the U20 national teams with two wins.
At the 1981 U20 World Cup in Australia, South Korea won 4-1 thanks to a multi-goal performance from Choi Sun-ho, Kwak Sung-ho and Lee Kyung-nam. In the 2000 New Year’s tournament in Japan, Korea won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Lee Chun-su.