South Korea’s women’s soccer team kept its hopes of qualifying for its first-ever Olympic Games alive with a 0-0 draw against North Korea in the “Battle of the Koreas.
The South Korean team, led by head coach Colleen Bell, drew 0-0 with North Korea in their second Group B match of the Asian qualifying tournament for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on Monday at the Xiamen Eaglet Stadium in Fujian province, China.
After a 10-1 thrashing of Thailand in the first round, South Korea maintained its lead at the top of the group (4-1 W, 1 D, +9 Goal Differential) with a valuable point against North Korea, which was considered the strongest team in the ‘Group of Death’.
They have the same number of points as second-place North Korea (1 win, 1 draw, +1 goal difference), but have a better goal differential.
The second round of Asian qualification for the Paris Olympics is divided into three groups of four teams, with the top team from each group and one of the best performing teams from the second group meeting for the quarterfinals.
South Korea’s place in the quarterfinals will be decided in the final group game against China on March 1 at the same stadium.
South Korea’s women’s soccer team has never qualified for the Olympic Games.
The team failed to avenge a 1-4 loss to North Korea in the quarterfinals of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games about a month ago.
South Korea has one win, four draws and 16 losses against North Korea.
The only time South Korea has won a women’s soccer A match was at the 2005 East Asian Cup (1-0).
Unlike the match against Thailand, where Bell deployed a four-back defense, she opted for a 3-4-1-2 with Shim Seo-yeon (Suwon FC), Lee Young-joo (Madrid CFF) and Kim Hye-ri (Hyundai Steel) as the last line of defense.
Kim Jung-mi (Hyundai Steel) wore the goalkeeping gloves.
Chu Hyo-joo (Suwon FC) and Lee Eun-young (Korea University) were the left and right wingbacks, while Jang Seul-ki (Hyundai Steel) and Jeon Eun-ha (Suwon FC) were in charge of the midfield.
Chun Garam (KSPO) and mixed-race player Casey Eugene formed the goal-hunting duo, backed by “ace” Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC).
North Korea dominated the early stages of the match.
In the 23rd minute, North Korea’s Lee Hye-kyung’s mid-range shot was saved by a diving Kim Jung-mi, and in the 25th minute, Kim Young-young’s header was fortunately directed straight at Kim Jung-mi.
South Korea took control in the closing stages of the first half and created several threatening moments.
In the 35th minute, Jang Seul-gi exchanged one-on-one passes with Jeon Eun-ha and broke into the box, but was denied by a tackle just before she could get a shot off.
With North Korea again in control in the second half, Coach Bell made a change to the offense in the sixth minute of the second half, substituting the speedy Son Hwa-yeon (Hyundai Steel) for the pair.
In the 24th minute, Kang Chae-rim (HHI) and Lee Keum-min (Brighton) were substituted for Jeon Eun-ha and Chun Garam.
South Korea’s solid defense shone more than the North Korean attack, which never let up on the initiative.
As the North Koreans were unable to get into the South Korean danger zone, Hong Sung-ok and Ri Jong-geum tried to knock on the South Korean goal with mid-range shots, but were denied by Kim Jung-mi. 스포츠토토