Korea Thwarted by Strong New Zealand Defense in Olympic Football Opener

  • By Lee Tae-dong

    July 23, 2021 10:32

    Korea lost its opening match of the men's football at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It lost to New Zealand 1-0 in its first group match in Ibaraki, northeast of Tokyo, on Thursday.

    Korea, which is aiming for its second Olympic medal after taking home bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, will face Romania on Sunday and Honduras on July 28.

    To advance to the quarterfinals, Korea must finish at least second in its group.

    Hwang Ui-jo reacts after losing to New Zealand in Korea's opening match at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan on Thursday.

    Korea ranks 39th in FIFA's world rankings, and New Zealand 122nd. Korea pressed hard from the start, dominating ball possession, but was unable to break through New Zealand's fortress of tall defenders, who consistently blocked Korea's passes.

    Chris Wood scored for New Zealand in the 70th minute.

    Of Korea's 12 goal attempts, only two were on target. The New Zealanders, on the other hand, had just two attempts but converted their only shot on target into a goal.

    "I am sorry for the disappointing match," said Kim Hak-bum, manager of the men's U-24 national football team. "We are determined to win our two remaining matches and reach the quarterfinals."

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