U20 WC: Debutant Israel Double Tame Red Devils of South Korea 3-1 to bag Bronze Medal.

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Debutant Israel shocked the Red Devils of South Korea with a stunning 3-1 victory at the La Plata Stadium in Argentina to claim their first ever Bronze Medal in the world U20 football Championship

Nobody gave the Jewish country a chance to survive the group stages but the team beat known countries like African Champions Senegal; twice trashed the Devils from Asia and became lord over the Samba Boys of Brazil and now gotten certified with the token of being lord over the South Koreans who were Silver Medalists at the last games having lost to Ukraine in that final first with a 2-1 victory and now a 3-1 victory.


Tel Aviv club player, Ran Benyamin who was red carded in the match against Japan got a cross pass from the left flank and sent a brilliant volley into Korean net in 19th minute for the first goal.


The equalizer from Korea was painted controversial by Israel as their defender had elbowed a goal bound Korean attacker and Ref Ramon Abatti from Brazil (no relationship with former Nigerian Presidential Spokesman, Reuben Abati) promptly pointed to the spot for a penalty kick. Every entreaty for Ref Abatti to take a look at the VAR (incidentally the head of the VAR crew is also a Brazilian) proved abortive. In the process of many protests against the penalty, Israeli Defender, Feingold was yellow carded.


Midfielder, Seoung-won Lee who scored the amazing penalty against Italy in their 1-2 semifinal loss stepped forward to tuck it in at 24th minute for an equalizer but to report whether Lee is jinxed scoring penalties and then his team will lose is simply speculative as his team again lost this vital battle for the Bronze.


Substitute Omar Senior who scored the winning goal against Japan in 90+1 minute (match ended 2-1 in favor of Israel) came smoking in the 76th minute with the second goal to dwindle the hopes of the Korean for a podium appearance.


Then came this fleet footed Anan Khalaili who ‘killed’ Brazil with a good goal in the quarters and also scored the only goal that sent Uzbekistan crashing out of the round of 16 as he cashed on a goal mouth melee to put the icing on the cake of historic victory in the 76th minute but as he pulled off his shirt to celebrate a feasible Bronze like the Cameroonian Captain did when he scored against Brazil and got a red card at the senior world cup, this Abatti of a Ref flashed him stern like the Nigerian Lawyer – Journalist Abati flashed Khalaili a yellow card.


Verily verily I say unto you the celebration became big in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Nazareth and Haifa will be more than the festival of light called the Hannuka festival in the Jewish tradition. The U20 team I report enjoyed tremendous support from the millions of Jewish community in diaspora who are prominent in Argentina.

South Korea was beaten by France 2-1; played 2-2 with Honduras and goalless with Gambia all at the group games. At the Knockout stages, Korea beat Ecuador 3-2 in the round of 16 and clipped Flying Eagles wing 1-0 in the quarterfinal. Korea slumped 1-2 to Italy in the semifinal.


To get to the semifinals for the first time ever, debutant Israel lost to Canada 1-2 on 21st May; drew with African Champions Senegal 1-1 on 24th May and shocked the Asian Tigers, South Korea with a 2-1 win on 27th May. At the Knockout stages, Israel piped Uzbekistan 1-0 in the round of 16 and humbled mighty five times Champions, Samba Boys of Brazil 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Israel bowed to Uruguay 0-1 in the semifinals.
Israeli Marksman, Dor Tureman who was injured is back.


Both teams met once at the group stages of this tournament and Israel caged the Red Devils of Korea 2-1. Debutant Israel was received for about two hours by an 80 member local Jewish community when the team arrived Argentina for the tournament. Indonesia that was scheduled by FIFA to host the tournament lost the hosting right in March 2023 when the country insisted that Israel that lawfully qualified for the tournament final cannot play on their grounds so FIFA took it to a willing Argentina.


The Red Devils of South Korea are in their 15th appearance with their best performance at the Poland games in 2019 when Ukraine defeated the Asian champions 3-1 in the final after the Red Devils had won a slim 1-0 victory over Ecuador in the semifinals. South Korea placed 4th in 1983 at Mexico losing the Bronze to Poland 1-2 AET after losing in the semifinals to Brazil 1-2. There were three appearances in the quarterfinal in 1991; 2009 and 2013.


Already a total 149 goals have been scored before this 3rd place match (meaning 2.98 goals per match). A total of 638,460 fans meaning 12,769 per match.


Italian Cesere Casdei is the highest goal scorer with 7 goals; Brazil’s Marcos Leonardo is second with 5 goals with two players Columbia’s Oscar Cortes and Ecuador’s Justin Cuero have 4 goals each. Two of the five players that scored 3 goals each can still score goals. They are Alejo Veliz and Anderson Duarte both of Uruguay.


The highest known goal scorer at the U20 level is Javior Saviola of Argentina with 11 goals at the 2001 games.


The Author, Eniola Olatunji (Formerly Yomi Kassim) has been in the media for some 46 years with vast experience in Radio Sports Commentaries and Newspaper reporting. He worked as Presenter/Producer on many radio stations and Reporter/Editor in some

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