After reaching the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the second time in a row, Kim Eun-Joong-ho’s semi-final opponent is traditional powerhouse Italy. The South Korean U-20 team, led by coach Kim Eun-joong, will face Italy in the final at 6am on 9 September.
Like Korea, who have reached the quarter-finals for the second time in a row, Italy have enjoyed a strong run in recent U-20 World Cups. They have reached the last three finals in a row, including third place in South Korea in 2017 and fourth place in Poland in 2019.
Comparing the two teams’ records at the tournament, South Korea has three wins and two draws, while Italy has four wins and one loss. The Azzurri lost 0-2 to Nigeria, South Korea’s quarter-final opponent, in the group stage, but went on to defeat heavy favourites Brazil 3-2 and then beat another favourite, England, 2-1 in the round of 16.
In five games, they have scored 11 goals and conceded six. Compared to South Korea, who have scored eight goals and conceded five in five games, they are slightly ahead in attack and similar in defence.
Italy’s No. 1 ‘man to watch’ is Cesare Cassaday (pictured), who leads the top scorer’s race with six goals, more than half his team’s tally. At 6ft 2in, he has good physicality, quick feet, the dribbling ability to carry the ball himself, and quality passing. An attacking midfielder, Cassaday has been known as a goal-scoring midfielder, or ‘midlicker’, since his Inter Milan youth days. In the 2021-2022 season, he scored 17 goals in 40 games for Inter Milan Youth.토토사이트
In August last year, English Premier League side Chelsea snapped up Cassaday, who had yet to make his first-team debut, for a transfer fee of €15 million, plus a €5 million bonus. In England, Cassaday has been described as having the potential to rival Chelsea’s legendary midfielder Frank Lampard.
Cassaday has scored three goals at the tournament, including two against Brazil and a brace against the Dominican Republic. He has now scored in each of his last three games, including one against England in the round of 16 and Colombia in the quarter-finals.
The Azzurri have the advantage in terms of stamina, as they played their quarter-final a day earlier than South Korea, and South Korea went to extra-time in the quarter-finals.
However, South Korea and Italy have a two-game lead in the all-time series between the U-20 national teams. At the 1981 U-20 World Cup in Australia, South Korea won 4-1 thanks to two goals from Choi Sun-ho (Suwon FC), and in the 2000 New Year’s tournament in Japan, Lee Ik-su scored a 1-0 victory.