In the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008, Korea Republic reached the quarter-finals after topping their group by defeating Brazil 2-1 and England 3-0 respectively despite a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Nigeria in the opening match. However, the USA proved too strong for the little Taeguk Ladies, as the Americans breezed past the South Koreans with a 4-2 victory in the last eight en route to the final.
Having finished fourth and third at the past two continental finals, Korea Republic were aiming for a better result entering last year’s Asian championship. And Choi Duk-Joo’s side made their intentions clear by defeating Myanmar and hosts Thailand 8-0 respectively, with striker Yeo Min-Ji scoring a hat-trick in each game. They went on the top the group after a 2-2 draw with reigning Asian and world champions Korea DPR. Yeo then netted the only goal of the semi-final against arch-rivals Japan, before scoring a brace in a 4-0 defeat of the North Koreans in the final in Bangkok.
Despite leading his charges to the continental championship in only six months since taking the reins, coach Choi Duk-Joo remains humble but confident as usual. “I will try to motivate the players once again to challenge a higher level so they cannot rest on their laurels,” he said. “I believe in their abilities and they have the confidence as Asian champions, so with a little bit of luck we’ll be able to achieve good result. Our goal is, of course, winning the world title.”
Facts and figures
Ji So-Yun and Lee Hyun-Young
Yeo Min-Ji and Kim Da-Hye
Korea Republic lifted their first Asian trophy at the third edition of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship last year, with a record of 4 wins and a draw at the finals during which they scored 23 goals while conceding only 2.
The numbers game
10 – the number of goals Yeo Min-Ji netted during the 2009 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship in Thailand, where she finished as the tournament’s top scorer and the Most Valuable Player.
|12||KIM In Ji|
|17||LEE Yoo Na|
|CHOI Duck Joo|