’14 shots in vain’ Belho loses to Morocco for second straight group game ‘World Cup round of 16 chances slipping away after eight years’

Despite 14 shots on goal, they were unable to find the back of the net. The South Korean women’s national soccer team (ranked 17th in FIFA) lost to Morocco (ranked 72nd), the first Arab nation to ever qualify for the Women’s World Cup.

Head coach Colleen Bell’s side lost 0-1 to Morocco in their second Group H match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023 on Sept. 30 at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Australia. The team, bidding for its best-ever finish at the tournament, was held without a goal for the second straight game and dropped to last place in the group, following a 0-2 loss to No. 25 Colombia on Sept. 25.

It was the sixth consecutive defeat in the Women’s World Cup, dating back to the round of 16 against France in 2015. The loss not only effectively ended their chances of reaching the round of 16, but also left them with no guarantee of a first-place finish, with their final group game against top-ranked Germany (No. 2) next month.

South Korea, who needed a high-scoring win to advance to the round of 16 after the loss to Colombia, started veteran striker Park Eun-sun up front. Bell also started Hong Hye-ji and goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi in place of Shim Seo-yeon and Yoon Young-gul, both of whom were responsible for conceding goals in the previous match against Colombia. However, there was a twist when Shim Seo-yeon was called up at short notice after defender Lim Sun-joo, who was scheduled to start, suffered a calf strain during warm-ups.

The game plan was disrupted by the early goal in the first half. In the sixth minute, Morocco’s Ibtisam Zaidi cut in front of the goal and headed home a side cross from Hanane Ait El Haji. She turned and rattled the opposite post with a sensational header for Morocco’s first goal of their historic Women’s World Cup campaign.

South Korea had several chances with strong pressure and lots of movement, but the final passes and shots that would lead to the decisive goal were inaccurate. In the 17th minute, Lee Geum-min’s shot after receiving a pass from Cho So-hyun was deflected by the defense. Three minutes later, Choo Hyo-joo had a no-mark chance inside the penalty box after receiving a cross from the left, but her shot was way off target. A deflected shot found Son Hwa-yeon at the other end, but she couldn’t convert it into a goal.

In the 26th minute, Ji So-yeon’s precise cross from the left found Park Eun-sun in front of the goal. However, Park’s header went just wide left. 꽁머니

After struggling with Morocco’s flanking attacks and quick counterattacks, South Korea switched to a 4-3-3 formation in the second half. Son Hwa-yeon and Choo Hyo-joo were replaced by Choi Yoo-ri and Moon Mi-ra. South Korea controlled the game throughout the second half, but couldn’t find the equalizer. In the 42nd minute, Casey Eugene-Paire sent a left-footed shot just wide after receiving a pass from Jung Eun-ah on a cutback. In stoppage time, Jang Seul-ki’s left-footed shot after making a good run into the penalty box also went wide.

The Koreans were outshot 49%-31% (20% contested) and 14-9 in shots on goal on the day, but had no shots on target (0-2). Their concentration was also lacking, with only 10 of their 35 cross attempts being successful.

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