Ji benched to preserve long-term health, says Yoon after loss to France
Montreal: Coach Yoon Duk-yeo said he opted to keep Korea Republic’s most lethal attacker Ji So-yun on the bench during their FIFA Women’s World Cup Round of 16 loss to France to help preserve her long-term health.
Chelse midfielder Ji (pictured, centre), the English Professional Footballers' Association Women's Player of 2014, came down with a right thigh injury after the Taeguk Ladies’ 2-1 victory over Spain in the final group match, following which she had three days to recover but could not quite return to full fitness.
"It was obviously a blow to our team not to have her in the lineup, but I felt her future was more important," Yoon said. "I told Ji this morning that it'd be better for her to rest than to make her injury worse by playing. She was disappointed but ultimately agreed with the decision."
The Koreans were eliminated from the competition after France defeated them 3-0, scoring two goals within the first eight minutes to cruise to an easy victory.
"I expect these talented French players to keep playing great football," said Yoon. "We couldn't execute our game plan after giving up goals early."
Despite their unceremonious exit, the Koreans achieved major milestones as they managed to earn their maiden Women's World Cup win and make it past the group stage for the first time.
"At this tournament, I wanted to lay the groundwork to allow more girls to start playing football," Yoon continued. "It's a shame we couldn't get further into the tournament, but I'd like to give our players kudos for their work."