“(Choi) Yuri’s cross was so good, but I was thinking too much.”
That’s how Colin Belho forward Lee Geum-min reflected on the moment she missed the most crucial chance in first-half stoppage time of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023 first leg against Colombia on Friday.
After conceding two goals in quick succession after the first 30 minutes, South Korea had a golden opportunity just before halftime. Cho So-hyun slipped a pass to Choi Yoo-ri in the back, who sent a clothesline cross toward Lee Keum-min in front of the goal. It was delivered precisely over Lee’s head, but his header went wide and he missed the goal. Commenting on the scene, Lee said, “The ball came so well that I was worried. In that short moment, I was worried about a clear chance. I don’t get many chances. If I get such a chance in the future, I must take it without thinking about anything else,” he said emphatically. The 94th line’s front line, Choi Yuri, is a man you can tell just by looking at him. He has been a regular in the national team since the 2014 U-20 World Cup in Montreal, Canada. This is Lee’s third World Cup and Choi’s first. “We fight a lot on the field,” Lee said of her friend, who was a fast and active player in her first World Cup. We have a lot of demands and expectations from each other.” “Yesterday, she kicked really well. It was her first World Cup, her first game, and she did so well. If she can continue to play like that, it will be very helpful for the team.”
Lee, who helped Yeo Min-ji’s comeback goal with a fantastic backheel assist in the final match against Norway (1-2 loss) at the World Cup in France four years ago, said at the time, “I will be quite old in four years, but I will come back with more distribution, confidence and determination. If I come back to the World Cup, I won’t do it like this. I won’t play a World Cup with such regrets,” she said with tears in her eyes. She has since left Gyeongju Hansuwon to join Man City Women and Brighton Women in the English WSL, and has been preparing fiercely for the World Cup in the European big leagues.
Four years have passed. He is determined to have a World Cup without regrets once again. “A lot of the players at the World Cup are playing for big clubs,” says Lee. That can have a good impact on the national team. The team can only improve if the individual players improve,” he said. “Just because we’re in the WK League doesn’t mean we’re weak. We’ve been doing well in the trials so far. The WKL players have played against South American players and have done well against physically strong players,” he said, recognizing his domestic teammates. “I’m sorry and disappointed that the more experienced and big stage players should have helped us in the first game of the World Cup. But we still have two games left. We will do our best and show a good performance,” he promised.
Colin Belho will now look to put the loss to Colombia behind them and get back to work against Morocco in the second leg in Adelaide on June 30. After the 0-2 defeat in the must-win first leg, Lee said, “There was a lot of disappointment and a depressed mood, but coach Colin Bell told us to forget everything and start again. He said to just look at the game against Morocco. I’m trying to regain my mood, physical condition, and focus,” he said.
“I watched the first game of Germany-Morocco,” Lee said, “and it was a game that showed us some clear weaknesses that we need to work on for Morocco.” “We know they have fast and strong players up front. We also have a lot of fast players, so we need to make the most of that and I think it will be an easy game.”
Since reaching the round of 16 for the first time in history with a 2-1 upset win over Spain in Canada in 2015, South Korea has lost five straight World Cup matches, including a round of 16 loss to France in 2019, a three-game defeat in France, and a first-leg loss in Australia-New Zealand in 2023. In total, they have one win, one draw and nine losses in 11 matches. They have won just one game in four World Cups. Three of those defeats came in the first round. Only six South Korean players have ever scored a goal at a World Cup: Kim Jin-hee (2003), Ji So-yeon, Cho So-hyun, Jeon Autumn, Kim Soo-yeon (2015), and Yeo Min-ji (2019). That’s how difficult it is to get one win and one goal on the World Cup stage.
“It’s hard to win the first game, but you can’t keep saying it’s hard to win the first game. But it happened again. There’s no guarantee that all the players here will be here for the next World Cup,” he said with determination. “At some point you have to break it. They call it the ‘first round jinx’ and it’s the same for every country. It’s hard to win one game, and it’s even harder to win the first game. You have to break it,” he said. .
“Now we are only looking at Morocco. Right now, we want to win one. After one win, we will prepare for the next one,” he said. “The current members are the best members. We call it the ‘golden generation’ because we have older sisters with experience, and it’s the same whether we’re on the bench or on the pitch. There’s no difference in skill. No matter who comes in, they can fill in equally well. I really want to bring good results with this group, I don’t think I have any wishes,” she said, eager for her first win.무지개벳
Lee Geum-min, a member of the 2010 U17 Women’s World Cup team, talked about her big goals beyond the first win. With more than 1,400 registered women’s soccer players, the so-called “golden generation” is eager to reach the round of 16 for the sake of the future of Korean women’s soccer. “Everyone talks about expanding women’s soccer. But at the end of the day, it’s only going to grow if kids want to play, and if there are a lot of kids who want to play, then schools, organizations, everywhere will be interested and create an atmosphere,” she said. “Kids see the national team, they see the games, they see the competitions, they see the dreams. More important than individual goals at the World Cup is the growth and development of women’s soccer. That’s why this World Cup is so important,” she emphasized.