Korea’s ‘High Intensity’ Isn’t World Soccer’s ‘High Intensity’

“This is the gap with the world.”

The South Korean women’s national team, led by head coach Colleen Bell, fell to a 0-2 defeat against Colombia in the first leg of their Group H match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023 at Sydney Football Stadium on Friday (June 25).

Expectations for the tournament were higher than ever. It was a “new and old” combination of the golden generation of women’s soccer, 꽁머니 including Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC), Kim Hye-ri (Incheon Hyundai Steel), and Park Eun-sun (Seoul Metropolitan Government), and younger players such as 16-year-old Casey Eugene Fair (PDA) and Chu Hyo-joo (Suwon FC), the first mixed-race player in the women’s national team.

Under Bell, who has been at the helm of the women’s national team since 2019, the team prepared for the World Cup by continuously improving its organization.

The concept was clear. “High intensity” was the slogan. Bell emphasized that in order to perform well in an international tournament like the World Cup, you need to train hard and develop the physical strength to fight against your opponents. Since Korean athletes are limited in physicality, they used activity as a weapon.

Fateful first game. At the beginning of the first half, the ‘high intensity’ seemed to work. Korea’s front two, Choi Yuri and Son Hwa-yeon, pressed hard and kept Colombia guessing. In the seventh minute of the first half, Choi Yoo-ri even threatened with a shot on goal.

However, the game changed in an instant. In the 28th minute, Shim Seo-yeon committed a handball foul inside the penalty box and conceded a penalty kick. Ten minutes later, Kaisedo’s shot was not caught perfectly by Yoon Young-gul, allowing the ball to find its way into the goal and the score was two goals.

The team came into the second half motivated to find an equalizer, but it didn’t change the outcome. In fact, it left them even more vulnerable. South Korea’s mobility plummeted as the forward pressure drained their stamina, and when the offense split, Colombia dominated the midfield.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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