AFC President praises runners-up Korea Republic
Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has praised Korea Republic for their second-place finish at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 after the East Asians fell to Ukraine 3-1 in an exciting final on Saturday at the Lodz Stadium in Poland.
Korea Republic’s performance yesterday saw them equal Asia’s best performance in the FIFA U-20 World Cup after Qatar and Japan finished runners-up in 1981 and 1999 respectively.
The AFC President said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate Korea Republic for showcasing remarkable character and consistency and for doing Asia proud.
“The AFC’s Vision and Mission underlined our ambitions to ensure the success of our teams on the world stage and Korea Republic’s achievement in reaching the final exemplifies those objectives.
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“I must also congratulate the Korea Football Association for their endeavours in youth football, which has culminated in delivering young heroes, who I am confident will continue to achieve even greater success in world football and inspire aspiring footballers all across the Continent.”
The Taeguk Warriors were a revelation in Poland, showing incredible resilience to brush off their opening day defeat to Portugal, to record five successive victories, including a thrilling comeback win over Senegal in the quarter-finals and six-time winners Argentina in the group stage.
In the individual awards, Lee Kang-in from Valencia CF, who was instrumental in Korea Republic’s victory over Senegal, joined Ismail Matar (United Arab Emirates, 2013) as the second Asian player to win the Golden Ball. The La Liga starlet takes his place among some of the biggest names in world football - Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi as well as Paul Pogba – in receiving the individual recognition.
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