Seungwoo on song for the Warriors
Does the name Lee Seungwoo mean anything to you? If not, then you might want to type his name into the YouTube search bar and find out just what the 17-year-old Korea Republic star can do.
His most notable feat to date is the brace he scored against Japan in the quarter-finals of the Asian qualifying competition for Chile 2015. The second of those two goals was a superb solo effort featuring a driving run and silky finish that Diego Maradona would have been proud of or, for that matter, Lionel Messi and Neymar, two players Seungwoo has been able to keep close tabs on since entering La Masia, Barcelona’s fabled academy.
“I’ve never trained with them because I’m with the B team, but to see them training is a fantastic source of inspiration for me,” he told FIFA.com following the Taeguk Warriors’ 1-0 defeat of* *Brazil on day one of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015.
Though he failed to find the back of the net in Saturday’s meeting with the three-time world champions in Coquimbo, the uniquely entertaining Seungwoo was nevertheless in impressive form, making the fans sit up and take notice every time he had the chance to unfurl his skills on the ball. The first highlight of his classy display came just before half-time, when the No10 embarked on a surging run from the halfway line before being thwarted by a last-ditch tackle on the edge of the box, while the second was a crisp drive that brushed the Brazilian woodwork.
There is much more to Seungwoo’s game than just being a brilliant solo artist, however. A leader who constantly urges his team-mates on, the Barcelona prodigy is also the man who makes the Taeguk Warriors tick, as he showed in outfoxing the entire Brazilian rearguard with a delicious back-heel in a first-half counter-attack.
Reflecting on his side’s overall performance, Seungwoo said: “We played very well as a team. We really stuck together and we fought very hard out there. It’s a great result for us.” He added: “As everyone knows, Brazil are one of the best teams in the tournament and we’ve lost to them twice in friendlies lately. I missed the defeat to them last year but I played when they beat us again a couple of months ago.”
Fortunately for Korea Republic, it was a case of third time lucky, as they secured a vital win that took them to the top of Group B. Though the livewire forward did not have a hand in the game’s only goal, he did much to frustrate a Brazil side that for once could not lay claim to having the most talented player on the pitch in their ranks.
That said, Brazilian football remains a source of inspiration for the rising Asian star: “I really like Neymar and Dani Alves, to name but two of their players. There are many great Brazilian footballers, but I’d rather name just those two because they play for the same team as me.”
Neymar also happens to have graced this particular competition before, and though Seungwoo is hoping to chart the same steep trajectory as his club-mate, his immediate priority is Chile 2015: “My first objective is for us to get through the first round, and we’ve made the ideal start in that respect. After that we want to go as far as we possibly can.”