Germany and Korea Republic went into their FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup semi-final as the two highest-scoring teams of the tournament. In the end, Choi In-Cheul's east Asians were on the receiving end of a 5-1 scoreline, setting up a meeting with Colombia in the match for third place.
FIFA.com spoke with the South Korean coach about his impressions of the host nation, his team's upcoming opponents and the development of women's football in his homeland.
Are you still overcome with the disappointment of missing out on the final, or rather proud of what your team has achieved here in Germany?
I'm very proud of my team for reaching the semi-finals. We'll be taking our mental, physical and technical preparations for the match very seriously indeed.
What does it mean to you to be involved in the match for third place?
In the history of South Korean football, we've only managed to reach the semi-finals twice before, in 1983 (at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Mexico) and in 2002 (FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™). We missed out on the bronze on both those occasions, so I want my team to become the first to go home with a medal.
How do you rate your opponents, Colombia? Where do you see their strengths and weaknesses?
They're a typically South American team, meaning the focus is on individual performances. One of Colombia's biggest strengths is of course their speed, they always play at a high tempo. However, the fact that they focus so much on individuals means that they neglect the performance of the team as a whole. In my opinion their teamwork suffers.
How important is Ji So-Yun to the team?
Of course she's a very important player for the team. The sheer number of goals she's scored is evidence of that. You also have to consider that she raises the level of the rest of the team too. She motivates and inspires them to be as good as her. For me it's important for more and more of this type of player to emerge as women's football continues to develop in Korea.
How much has women's football changed in Korea Republic over the last few years?
We implemented the American school system, with middle and high school, and that has helped more people to get involved in women's football. It led to more school teams being formed, even in primary schools. When I get back to Korea I'm going to be making sure that even more teams are created.
What are your thoughts on the host nation and what experiences will you be taking with you from Germany 2010?
It's not as hectic in Germany as it is back home. I was very impressed by the city of Dresden. It combines old and new wonderfully. You'll have an ancient building right next to a super-modern shopping centre. That really impressed me. You can tell that Germany is a football-crazy country. Everyone likes football, both men and women. I think Germany is the perfect example of how women's football can be marketed. I wish it was that way in Korea, but unfortunately we're not quite there yet. When I get back to Korea, I'm going to try to market women's football in a similar way. I've seen many different teams and playing styles at this tournament, which made me realise that I still have a lot to learn as a coach. I'm pleased that my players had the chance to pit themselves against all these foreign teams and to gain experience on the international stage.