Friday 10 August 2018, 10:00

Resilient Koreans still have eyes on the prize

  • Korea DPR’s title defence still on track at France 2018

  • Win over Mexico a boost to Young Chollima’s aspirations

  • A U-17 Women’s World Cup winner, Kim Pom-Ui is seeking success in Brittany

The ability to overcome adversity has always been a hallmark of leading teams. On Wednesday in Dinan-Lehon, Korea DPR needed to show their resilience to put their FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 campaign back on track.

Title holders from Papua New Guinea 2016, the East Asians suffered a setback in their bid to become the first team to defend the U-20 Women’s World Cup crown when they lost 3-1 to England in their Group B opener.

It left little margin for error when Korea DPR lined up against Mexico in their second group match, and despite falling behind early, they produced under pressure. A Choe Kum-Ok equaliser and a late header from Kim Kyong-Yong kept alive their hopes of making the quarter-finals, heading into the final round of group games on Sunday.

“I think this match could be a kind of turning point for us to claim an even bigger victory in the match against Brazil,” midfielder Kim Pom-Ui told after Wednesday’s win over the North Americans. “Even though we conceded the first goal, it was an opportunity to get even more confidence in ourselves and recover as soon as possible.”

In implementing an aerial attack against Mexico, especially in the second half, Korea DPR unsettled their opponents - much to the satisfaction of the Young Chollima No9. “We were quite flexible to play on the ground or in the air, but we thought it was more suitable to attack Mexico in the air,” she said.

A 2016 champion

The 19-year-old, who was an attacking threat against the Mexicans at the Stade du Clos Gastel, knows all about the journey to winning a world title. Two years ago in Jordan, the midfielder played her part in leading Korea DPR to a second U-17 Women’s World Cup title, appearing in every one of her team's matches and scoring three goals. The Koreans ended the year with a double of U-17 and U-20 women’s world titles.

That taste of success from 2016 is fuelling the desire of this U-20 side to go on and win a third title in this age category in Brittany. A positive result over the Brazilians in their Group B finale in Concarneau will go a long way towards making that dream a reality.

“We will run and run and do our best to get the championship,” a determined Kim said. “I’m quite satisfied with the way we are playing right now. If we are able to go on like this, we will be able to win the title.”