Byun Sung-hwan, who finished second at the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-17 Asian Cup, returned home.
The South Korean U-17 men’s national soccer team, led by head coach Byun Sung-hwan, returned through Incheon International Airport at around 5 a.m. on the 4th.
Even in the early morning, dozens of fans, officials from the Korea Football Association, and family members of the team welcomed the change.
The 23 players, who shed tears as runners-up, also took a commemorative photo with a bright expression with a bouquet of congratulations.
South Korea lost 0-3 to Japan in the AFC U-17 메이저도메인 Asian Cup final in Patum Thani, Thailand, on the 2nd.
South Korea, which has won the tournament twice (1986 and 2002), challenged to win the title for the first time in 21 years, but collapsed to Japan.
It is the first runner-up in nine years since losing to North Korea in the final of the 2014 Thailand Games.
It was the first time that South Korea and Japan faced off in the U-17 Asian Cup final.
With the U-17 team bowing their heads to the Korea-Japan match, South Korea’s men’s national soccer teams at all levels recently lost 0-3 in five consecutive games against Japan.
Including the women’s national team, it is a draw and six losses in seven matches against Japan.
The bad news of his exit hampered him. In the first half, one person was sent off and 10 people fought, and then allowed three goals.
In addition, some say that it was an unfair defeat due to a dubious decision.
Despite losing to Japan, South Korea finished in the top four of the tournament and qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals in Indonesia in November this year.
South Korea reached the quarterfinals at the 2019 Brazil World Cup, the U-17 World Cup.
Coach Byun Sung-hwan, who finished the tournament as a runner-up, said, “We didn’t predict the results before the tournament, but we prepared steadily based on the philosophy, style, and original team we want to go to, and the expectations of the performance the players showed on the field were high.”
He added, “My philosophy and the direction of the association matched, and I will challenge to the semifinals of the World Cup with the confidence I gained from this tournament.”
Baek In-woo (Yongin Football Center), who scored a fantastic free-kick winning goal in the semifinals of the tournament against Uzbekistan, also said, “It was an opportunity to grow further.”
He said, “We didn’t get the results we wanted in the final, but we grew up through the tournament. “I will be able to show better performance in the World Cup,” he said with confidence.
Meanwhile, the U-17 team plans to reconvene in August to prepare for the World Cup in November.