Italy coach Carmine Nunziata gave a thumbs-up to the Taeguk Warriors after they fought hard to reach their first-ever Under-20 World Cup final over South Korea.

Kim Eun-joong’s South Korea fell 1-2 to Italy in the semifinals of the FIFA U20 World Cup Argentina 2023 at the La Plata Stadium in La Plata, Argentina on Monday (Sept. 9).

South Korea conceded a crucial free-kick goal from Simone Papundi in the 41st minute with the score tied at 1-1.

South Korea, who were looking to reach their second consecutive final after finishing runners-up at the 2019 tournament in Poland, were denied by Italy and will now play for third and fourth place. Kim Eun-joong-ho will face Israel for third place at 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 12.

After the match, Italy coach Nunziata said, “We are happy to have achieved a historic result,” but added, “We still have one final match left, so we will do our best until the end.”

Italy will play Uruguay, who defeated Israel earlier in the day, for the title. Both teams are seeking their first U20 World Cup title.

Nunziata said he was impressed with the performance of the South Koreans, who were a threat against Italy.

“It was a tough game, as expected,” he said, adding that “Korea is a solid team with its own philosophy of soccer.”

Nunziata then mentioned the performance of Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon), who shined on the day. Bae made several spectacular dribbling breakthroughs that drew a lot of cheers from the local fans. 메이저놀이터

Korean national team coach Kim Eun-joong applauded him after the game, saying, “(Bae) came here and gave everything he had, even though he wasn’t 100 percent due to injury.”

“Number 10 (Bae) was a very good player,” Nunziata said.

Reflecting on his team, Nunziata said, “The younger players, like Cesade Cassaday and Papundi, have good skills,” adding, “Teamwork is important for us to compete as a better team. I was pleased with the way our team’s identity came through.”

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