‘Target is quarterfinals or better’ Colin Belho targets top finish at World Cup after Asian Cup

The South Korean women’s national soccer team will be looking to make history at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand following the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand kicks off on Tuesday (June 20). South Korea, in Group H, will open the tournament against Colombia on Aug. 25. They will then face Morocco on Aug. 30 and Germany on Aug. 3.

The team has been preparing for the World Cup for nearly three years and nine months under Colleen Bell, who was hired in October 2019. Bell has led the team with an emphasis on international competitiveness and high-intensity training. The team gained experience by playing regular A matches at home and abroad, and improved their fitness and focus through intense training.

Bell’s direction didn’t go wrong. The results showed at the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India in January and February last year. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team overcame many challenges to achieve their goal. They reached the final, securing a World Cup berth for the top five nations, and finished as runners-up, surpassing their best-ever third-place finish at the tournament.

Recognizing Bell’s leadership, the Korean Football Association (KFA) re-signed him shortly after the Asian Cup. He is the first foreign coach of the Korean national team, both men’s and women’s, to receive an extension after his contract expired. “The journey begins again,” Bell said at the time of her re-signing, adding that she hopes to “move towards the Women’s World Cup next year.”

South Korea have previously qualified for the Women’s World Cup three times, with their best finish being the round of 16. Their first appearance was in 2003 in the United States. At that time, 16 nations participated in the tournament, and the team lost all three of its matches, realizing the high barriers on the world stage. The second tournament, the 2015 World Cup in Canada, was their first. With one win, one draw, and one loss, they finished second in their group and advanced to the round of 16 in the 24-nation tournament. At their last tournament, in France 2019, they suffered another three-game sweep and were eliminated in the group stage. 스포츠토토

After a year and five months of rebuilding after the Asian Cup, the national team is looking to improve on its best performance at the World Cup. In a survey conducted last month by Onside, a technical report published by the KFA, a majority of 16 (51.6 percent) of the 31 players who participated in the call-up training at the time said they were targeting the quarterfinals. Twelve players (38.7%) wanted to finish fourth or higher.

Ji So-yeon, who is considered a Colin Belho ace, said at the World Cup kickoff that she hopes to be an upset hero like Morocco, who made a surprise appearance at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. “In big tournaments, there are always upset teams. I hope that team will be Korea in this tournament. We are ready for that,” he said.

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