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Chung hails Korea Republic's resilience

Sunday, June 9, 2019
Korea Republic v Senegal-U20-FIFA

Bielsko-Biala: Head coach Chung Jung-yong praised his players' resilience and never-give-up attitude after Korea Republic advanced to the semi-finals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in dramatic fashion on Saturday.

Lee Ji-sol's headed goal in added time made it 2-2 to force the match into extra-time where Korea Republic then took the lead through Cho Young-wook, only for Senegal to draw level again.

The penalties were another heart-stopping affair as Korea Republic missed their first two attempts before eventually sealing their first FIFA U-20 World Cup semi-final spot with a 3-2 win, with Ecuador awaiting them on Tuesday.

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"This isn't a team that will go down so easily," Chung said. "And it hasn't happened overnight. Going up against some tough competition during the regional qualification hardened these players. And the players all believe in themselves."

Korea Republic showed their indomitable spirit early on, as they came back from going 1-0 down early in the first half with Lee Kang-in scoring from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute.

"After extra time ended, I told the players that it would all come down to their focus," the head coach said. "I said I was proud of them for having come this far, but I didn't want them to think it would be good enough. We had to clear this hurdle if we wanted to make the final."

Chung said the pressure was off the shoulders of his young players after they defeated regional rivals Japan in the Round of 16.

"They told me that they honestly felt this was a less stressful match than the previous one against Japan," Chung said. "They knew what they were supposed to do. My job was just to be their caretaker."

[FT] 대한민국🇰🇷3 (3 PSO 2) 3🇸🇳세네갈
"끝날 때까지 끝난 게 아니다"
역전의 역전의 역전의 드라마!
그대들이 너무나도 자랑스럽습니다!
⚡AGAIN 1983⚡ 대한민국 4강 진출!✨
✔ 2019 FIFA 폴란드 U-20 월드컵 4강
🇰🇷v🇪🇨#에콰도르 06.12(수) 03:30(새벽)
⏰ 한국시간 기준 📺 중계 추후 공지

— 대한축구협회(KFA) (@theKFA) June 8, 2019

Chung said he felt exhausted just watching his team pull off the thrilling win and recovery for his players will be key ahead of the semi-final against Ecuador.

"We don't have much time left, but the opponents will be just as fatigued," Chung said. "But these players are as mentally tough as any group of players I've coached. We'll just have to continue to prepare for matches like we always have."


Semi-finals Tuesday Ukraine v Italy (Gdynia, 17:30 local time) Ecuador v Korea Republic (Lublin, 20:30 local time)

Sources: FIFA via Getty Images, Yonhap

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