Byun Sung-hwan, who finished second at the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-17 Asian Cup, returned home with a warm welcome.
The U-17 national soccer team, led by head coach Byun Sung-hwan, returned home via Incheon International Airport on the morning of the 4th after completing all the tournament schedules in Thailand.
Even though it was dawn to return home, dozens of fans waited for young Taegeuk Warriors at Incheon International Airport in addition to the team’s family. As 23 players, including head coach Byun Sung-hwan, appeared at the arrival hall with silver medals around their necks, enthusiastic applause and cheers poured out. A bright smile spread to the faces of the players, who were slightly hardened.
Coach Byun Sung-hwan said in an interview back home, “Thank you for welcoming the team from early in the morning,” adding, “I tried hard with blood and sweat while preparing for the tournament, and I got the result of my hard work in one direction.”
“I watched the video (the final match between Korea and Japan) the whole time I came back from the plane,” he said adding, “Until we left, we led well according to the flow we wanted, but it’s more regrettable that we couldn’t show everything we prepared.”
In addition, head coach Byun Sung-hwan praised the players, saying, “We could dominate the game in our own style no matter which team we meet, and I was happy to see the players actively respond to strong opponents,” adding, “Through this experience, the players must have gained enough confidence.”
He also stressed, “The best performance in the history of the U-17 World Cup is the quarterfinals, and we have been running the team with the 오래된토토사이트 goal of reaching the semifinals,” adding, “Through this tournament, we have confidence in the ‘World Cup semifinals.'”
Coach Byun Sung-hwan did not hide his willingness to strengthen defense in preparation for the upcoming U-17 World Cup in Indonesia in November. “In order to win, we need to have offense, but to win, defense must also be supported,” he said. “In August’s reconvening training, we will work more on personal defense, group defense, and team defense, and revise and supplement offensive details in detail.”
Captain Kim Myung-joon (Pocheol High School), who scored four goals in this tournament, said, “It was a competition that I prepared a lot, and it was a valuable opportunity to find things to supplement and gain confidence through a lot of experience.”
“When I think about the first and last games, I think there was a lack of individual persistence in terms of performance,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll prepare better for even the smallest things and beat Japan in the World Cup.”
Midfielder Baek In-woo (Yongin City Football Center U-18), who scored the winning goal of a free kick in the semifinals against Uzbekistan, said, “I was able to grow a lot through this tournament,” and vowed, “I will show you a better performance at the World Cup in November.”
Baek In-woo said, “I never lost to Japan and I really wanted to win, but I was most disappointed to lose, but we all fought well together,” adding, “I want to make up for the shortcomings found in this tournament and show you a more united team.”
Byun Sung-hwan, who started the U-17 Asian Cup with the goal of “winning in 21 years,” beat host Thailand 4-1 in the quarterfinals to qualify for the World Cup finals and beat his rival Uzbekistan 1-0 in the semifinals to reach the final. However, in the final match against Japan, the referee’s elusive decision was repeated, losing 0-3 and having to settle for second place.