It’s the turn of ‘Ace’ Bae Jun-ho (20-Daejeon Hana Citizens).
One of K League One’s newest stars this season, Bae Jun-ho is set to make his first appearance at the Under-20 World Cup. The stage will be set on June 26 at 6 a.m. (KST) against Honduras in the second match of Group F at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Mendoza Stadium in Argentina.
In the first match against France, Bae Jun-ho was rested due to a minor injury. Luckily, South Korea was able to hold off France 2-1 without their ace, thanks to some solid soccer. They are now tied with Gambia atop the standings and have a good chance of qualifying for the round of 16.
A win over Honduras would virtually guarantee South Korea a spot in the round of 16. The outcome of the France-Gambia match, which will be played before the Honduras match, will also determine their place in the round of 16. They need to put their best foot forward against Honduras to reduce the pressure of the final match and prepare for the tournament.
That’s why it’s good to see that Bae Joon-ho is likely to start the second leg. He’s a key resource who can make Korea’s offense sharper. His physical condition will be a factor until the day of the game, but he has reportedly been fit enough to play in the first leg that he was considered a possible substitute.
Bae Jun-ho, who has been a highly touted prospect since his high school days, has been a staple in the squad since Kim Eun-jong-ho first called him up last year. At the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-20 Asian Cup in March, he was so trusted by Kim that he started every game until the semifinal against Uzbekistan, except for the final group game when he was rotated. He also wears the number 10, which symbolizes an ace.
He has already established himself as a key player in the team’s matches. Bae Jun-ho, who played in the K League 2 last season, has been one of this year’s breakout stars since the team’s promotion to the K League 1. Regardless of the U-22 rules, he’s earned his spot in the starting lineup with his skill and is guaranteed plenty of playing time. Although he doesn’t have an offensive point yet, he has already played in seven games (404 minutes) and has been impressive. 안전놀이터
Bae’s biggest strengths are his crisp passing, dribbling, and ability to break pressure. In practice, Bae Jun-ho often creates chances with his passes that catch opponents off guard. In addition, his daring dribble breakthroughs and pressure breaks often earn him applause from fans. He is already among the top players on the team in the relevant metrics.
Unlike other players who struggle with match fitness due to lack of playing time for their clubs, Bae Jun-ho can continue his rise in the K League to the U-20 World Cup. When he was called up to the U-20 national team, he said, “I think I need to be more aggressive in the national team. We will not spare any shots and make bold plays in the tournament.” The time has come to show that commitment on the U-20 World Cup stage.