‘Dirty soccer’ Italy is no different from 20 years ago…26 fouls for hand-elbowing alone

The South Korea Under-20 Football Team, led by head coach Kim Eun-joong, lost 1-2 to Italy in the semifinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Estadio La Plata in La Plata, Argentina, on Monday (Sept. 9).

The South Koreans, who had hoped to reach the final for the second consecutive tournament, will now play in the third-place game. They will face Israel, who lost to Uruguay, for third place at 2:30 a.m. on June 12.

Kim Eun-joong-ho played a tight game against Italy. They conceded a goal to Cesare Cassaday in the 14th minute of the first half. Korea 메이저놀이터 fought back calmly and scored a penalty kick in the 23rd minute. Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon Hana Citizens) was brought down by opposing defender Mattia Zanotti. The referee’s initial decision was that there was no problem, but after communicating with the video assistant referee (VAR), the penalty kick was awarded after an on-field review.

It was captain Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC) who overcame the pressure to convert. With the ball in his hand, Lee calmly faced the Italian goal and bravely took it. Confident in his shot, Lee fired a powerful kick toward the top of the goal. The opposing goalkeeper read the direction but was unable to stop Lee’s shot, which was high enough for him to reach with his outstretched arm.

More difficult than Italy’s skill was the rough play of their opponents. Kim Eun-Joong-ho had to overcome Italy’s tricky fouls. The Italian style of physical play, using their arms and hitting physically, remained the same.

South Korea experienced the essence of dirty soccer against Italy in the round of 16 of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup. Defender Kim Tae-young was elbowed by Cristian Vieri, breaking his nose. Francesco Totti was also sent off for some Hollywood action.

Their successors, the younger Italian players, did the same. They continued to disrupt the flow of the game by grabbing the Korean players’ jerseys, pulling them down, and hitting them in the face with their hands and elbows. Defender Choi Seok-hyun (Dankook University) was hit in the face by Francesco Esposito in the 36th minute, and forward Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon Sangmu) was also hit by Gabriele Guarino. Bae Jun-ho, who had his foot stepped on by Zanotti, had his jersey torn off again before the end of the first half.

Italy committed 15 fouls in the first half alone. They also received two yellow cards. They continued to be frustrated with the referee’s decisions, even when they committed obvious fouls. In the first half, Giuseppe Ambrosino even got a card for unnecessary nerves. The second half was no different. Italy tried to get on Korea’s nerves with 26 fouls in 90 minutes. This compares favorably to South Korea’s 12 fouls.

Kim Eun-Joong-ho didn’t react much, keeping the game even with Italy. However, they conceded a free-kick winner to Simone Papundi four minutes before the end of the match, sending the game into a tie for third place.

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