The South Korean women’s national soccer team has suffered its second straight defeat, effectively eliminating its chances of reaching the round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA World Cup.
South Korea lost 0-1 to Morocco in their second Group H match on Sept. 30 in Adelaide, Australia. Central defender Lim Seon-ju was injured while warming up just before the game. South Korea, which had conceded an early goal in all 12 of its previous Women’s World Cup matches, conceded again in the first six minutes. A cross from the right was met with a diving header by Ibtisam Zaidi.
It was the first goal and first win of the tournament for Morocco, the first Arab nation to qualify for the World Cup. South Korea (No. 17) failed to score a goal against Morocco (No. 72), which is 55 spots lower in the FIFA rankings. Park Eun-sun’s header and Casey Eugene Fair’s turnover both went wide. South Korea had 14 shots on goal, but none were on target.
South Korea head coach Colin Bell used an unorthodox 3-5-2 formation, playing both wingbacks high up the pitch. As expected, Morocco’s coach Renal Pedroz played a counter-attack, looking for space in the back on both flanks. The lack of finishing in the final third (the area near the opponent’s goal in the third of the field) was still a problem. They couldn’t get past Morocco’s Nouhayla Benzina, who was wearing a hijab for the first time in World Cup history.
For four years, Bell, who took charge of South Korea in 2019, preached “high-intensity soccer” that used stamina and sprints to overcome physical disadvantages, but even against Morocco, she was outclassed. “I feel like I’m back to where I was four years ago,” Ji shook her head.
After a 0-2 loss to Colombia on Friday, South Korea suffered its second straight defeat and finished last in the group (0 points, 0 goals for, 3 against). A draw against Germany in the next match in the same group would have ensured Korea’s early elimination, but Colombia conceded a 44th-minute penalty kick equalizer before Manuela Banegas scored a theatrical goal seven minutes into stoppage time to give Germany a 2-1 victory.
The Group H standings are Colombia with two wins and six points, followed by Germany (+5 goal differential) and Morocco (-5 goal differential) with one win and one loss, and South Korea (-3 goal differential) with two losses. 안전놀이터 If South Korea defeats FIFA’s second-ranked Germany in the third match next month on March 3, South Korea, Germany, and Morocco could all tie for second place with one win and two losses. However, Germany’s 6-0 win over Morocco in the first leg gives them a significant goal difference advantage.
In the ‘what if’ scenario, if South Korea beats Germany by five goals and Morocco loses to Colombia, South Korea could finish second in the group and advance to the round of 16. If South Korea wins its final game by four goals, it would still be eliminated because it has the same goal differential as Germany (+1) but is behind on goal difference. Easier said than done, South Korea will have to hope for a miracle.