Remember the Canadian Women’s World Cup miracle…Bellejo ’round of 16 hopefuls’
Eight years ago they started the tournament with one loss and one draw.
Need to revive salty defense to repeat miracle
‘Reversal’ of fortunes against Germany in the final
Reinvigorated! Members of the South Korean national team competing in the 2023 Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand take part in a recovery training session at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, on Saturday. Sydney | Yonhap News Agency
It’s too early to be disappointed. South Korea’s women’s soccer team may have gotten off to a rocky start at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, but they still have a chance to advance to the round of 16.
The South Korean women’s soccer team, led by coach Colleen Bell (62), lost 0-2 to Colombia in their first match of Group H at the Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 25. The loss dashed hopes that a win would give the team a foothold in the group stage.
“The players were nervous and anxious about the first game,” Bell said.
In fact, South Korea has been plagued by the dreaded first game jinx at every Women’s World Cup, starting with a 0-3 loss to Brazil in their first attempt at the tournament in 2003 in the United States, followed by a 0-2 loss in Canada in 2015 and a 0-4 loss in France in 2019.
South Korea hasn’t broken the jinx this time around, but that could change depending on the outcome of their remaining two games. The Canada tournament, where Korea reached the round of 16, can serve as a role model. At that tournament, South Korea drew 2-2 with Costa Rica in the second round before pulling off a miraculous 2-1 victory over their final opponent, Spain.
If South Korea is to fulfill their ‘Again 2015’ dream, they will need to win the second leg against Morocco on March 30. Morocco also fell to Germany 0-6 in their first match.
On paper, South Korea, ranked 17th in the FIFA rankings, is better than Morocco, ranked 72nd. Nevertheless, the Moroccans shouldn’t relax, as they did not fare too badly in a series of exhibition games against Italy, Switzerland (0-0 draw), and Jamaica (0-1 loss) just before the World Cup.
South Korea will need to redeem their salty defense against Morocco while simultaneously looking to finish second in Group H on a high note. A win against Morocco could set the stage for the final match against FIFA No. 2 Germany.
“We are much stronger than we were in 2019 (when they were eliminated in three games),” Bell said in Korean, adding, “We never give up. We will never give up until the final whistle (of the tournament),” he promised. “I think we can still make it to the round of 16, we have to think we can,” said forward Park Eun-sun.
What’s more, the tournament has been characterized by an underdog uprising, aside from a few powerhouse teams.
The Philippines, a first-time World Cup participant, recorded its first win in history with a 1-0 victory over hosts New Zealand in its second Group A match. Other upsets include Nigeria’s 0-0 draw with Canada in Group B’s second game, and the 0-0 draw with Jamaica in Group F’s first game, which was enough for favorite France.