The Final - Preview: Ukraine v Korea Republic
Lodz: Korea Republic will face Ukraine in Saturday’s FIFA U-20 World Cup final needing just one more victory to be crowned champions at the end of a global gathering in Poland which has sparkled from start to finish.
Join the-AFC.com as we reveal all you need to know ahead of the meeting in Lodz – the winners of which will write a new and illustrious chapter in the tournament’s history books.
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Who, What, Where, When Ukraine v Korea Republic FIFA U-20 World Cup Final Lodz Stadium, Lodz Saturday, June 15, 18:00 local time
A final of firsts
Both sides will be appearing in their first-ever FIFA U-20 World Cup final. Prior to Saturday’s showdown, Korea Republic’s best finish came in 1983 when they claimed fourth spot, while Ukraine had failed to advance beyond the Round of 16 in their three previous attempts.
Saturday’s match will be first time the two teams have played each other at this level.
How they got here
Korea Republic have not looked back since losing their opening group stage match to Portugal, recording five successive victories on their way to this weekend’s final. After finishing second to Argentina in Group F, the young Taeguk Warriors beat regional rivals Japan 1-0 in the Round of 16, Senegal on penalties in the last eight and then Ecuador – thanks to Choi Jun’s first-half strike – in a tense semi-final encounter.
For their part, Ukraine claimed top spot in Group D after beating the United States 2-1, Qatar 1-0 and drawing 1-1 with Nigeria. In the knockout phase, star striker Danylo Sikan scored twice as the Europeans cruised to a 4-1 win over Panama in the Round of 16, before Oleksandr Petrakov’s charges recorded narrow yet crucial 1-0 victories over Colombia and Italy in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.
Cho Young-wook and Oh Se-hun have both scored twice for Korea Republic, while livewire forward Sikan leads Ukraine’s goalscoring charts after finding the net four times.
Did you know?
Korea Republic goalkeeper Lee Gwang-yeon started out as a right-back before one of his coaches, believing he was better suited to making saves, suggested he try his luck between the posts.
Photos: FIFA via Getty Images
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