The French national team’s bid to win the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris has left the country in a state of shock after they fell short against South Korea in their own backyard.
“The French national team, led by Thierry Henry, was humiliated at home by South Korea,” French soccer media outlet Foot Mercato wrote in its coverage of the 0-3 loss on Nov. 21 (KST).
The South Korean Under-23s defeated France 3-0 in a friendly against the French Under-21s at Stade Ocean in Le Havre, France, thanks to a multi-goal performance from Jung Sang-bin, nicknamed “K-Mbappe,” and a late stoppage-time winner from Hong Yun-sang.
It was the first time an Olympic-qualified South Korean Under-23 team had ever beaten France. They had drawn one and lost two of their previous three matches.
Henri opted for a front two of Mathis Thiel, who plays for Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga, and Arnaud Calimbiendo, who is a starter for Stade Rennes in the French Ligue 1.
Most of the starters, including Magnus Akiloche (AS Monaco), Bradley Barcola (Paris Saint-Germain), and Chimuanya Ugochukwu (Stade Rennes), have established themselves in the big leagues at a young age. The French outplayed South Korea, who had three foreigners in their starting lineup, including Kim Ji-soo, Jung Sang-bin, and Hong Yun-sang.
France dominated the first half with their power advantage and the support of their home fans. But a flurry of shots went wide or were saved by Korea goalkeeper Shin Song-hoon, while Calimbiandeau’s effort from a free kick in the final minute of the first half struck the post. 토토사이트
After a series of scoring chances, France was denied by a Korean strike. In the 70th minute of the second half, a free kick from Jung Sang-bin curled into the French goal.
After conceding the lead, France was shaken. Nine minutes later, they conceded another goal. The flanks were breached, and the defense scrambled around and lost track of the onrushing Sangbin.
France didn’t manage to score a second goal, but conceded a wedge goal in stoppage time to Hong Yun-sang. Once again, a defensive mistake led to a goal. After blocking a Korean shot, they tried to play it safe, only to have their offense stolen by the Koreans, who were relentless.
France has been building up to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, which will be held at Anbang, since Henri took over the reins in August. With home advantage and the majority of the national team’s players playing for their clubs, they are strong favorites.
France suffered an embarrassing 0-2 loss to Austria in the group stage of the UEFA U-21 Football Championship on June 18. They were determined to turn things around against South Korea at home, but instead went down without a goal and by an even larger margin.
In the post-match press conference, Henri said, “There is something realistic about soccer. If you create a lot of chances and don’t score, you give the other team a chance to punish (us).” “The free kick was beautiful, but the other two goals were avoidable. We did well. We are learning.”
The Olympic team will now look ahead to the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup, the final Asian qualifier, in April next year. The tournament will also serve as a qualifier for the Paris Olympics. The team must finish in the top three to qualify for the Olympics. If they finish fourth, they will have to play a playoff against the African continent.
“During this call-up, we hope to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of our team and prepare for the final qualifiers and the Olympic Games through the experience of playing against France and adapting to the local conditions,” said Hwang Sun-hong. “We were worried about calling up overseas players, but there was some uncertainty about whether we would be able to call up overseas players for the Asian final qualifiers in April next year, so we chose to focus on domestic league players and minimize the number of overseas players in this call-up.”