Unfavorable schedule and physical demands… ‘strategy + mental strength’ needed to reach the quarterfinals

South Korea’s U20 World Cup quarterfinal is a bigger test than any of their previous matches. Before we even get to the quality of their opponent, Italy, the schedule and fatigue are against them.

South Korea defeated Nigeria 1-0 in extra time in the quarterfinals of the FIFA U20 World Cup Argentina 2023 at Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, on Friday (June 5). South Korea will play Italy in the quarterfinals on Sept. 9.

The Italians are the favorites in the tournament, having beaten Brazil and England. While their strength of schedule is daunting, South Korea is at a disadvantage.

South Korea has one less day off between the quarterfinals and the semifinals. Italy played the quarterfinals on four days, while Korea played on five. In addition to the difference in recovery time, there was also a big difference in the level of exhaustion in the quarterfinals. Italy defeated Colombia 3-1 in 90 minutes. South Korea, on the other hand, won 1-0 in overtime against Nigeria.

However, South Korea did have an advantage. They traveled less. Italy traveled about 1,100 kilometers from east to west after the group stage to reach the round of 16, quarterfinals, and final four. In comparison, South Korea played its group stage in Mendoza in the midwest, the round of 16 and quarterfinals in Santiago del Estero, about 900 kilometers north, and the quarterfinals in La Plata, near the capital Buenos Aires, in the center of the country. Korea has traveled one less long distance.

Another positive is that they have been better organized. South Korea has only three players who have started all five games. Compared to Italy’s five starters, who started all five games. In terms of playing time, South Korea has three players who have played more than 400 minutes, while Italy has five. Conversely, South Korea has 18 players who have played more than 90 minutes, while Italy has 16. This balance of fitness and the use of a variety of players could be a positive for the quarterfinals.

Despite being in a more physically challenging situation, Korea is not at a disadvantage as they have managed the tournament well. The likes of Lee Young-joon and Lee Seung-won, who continue to play in the starting lineup, will need to maximize their physical and mental stamina in the short time available. Kim Eun-joong has more resources than Italy, so he will have to play a tactical game with both his starters and substitutes. The lineup that Kim chooses to use against Italy will have a huge impact on the game 스포츠토토.

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