It’s not too early to give up. The South Korean women’s soccer team will be looking for their first win in eight years when they take on Morocco in the round of 16 at the World Cup.
Head coach Colleen Bell’s side will face Morocco at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, Australia, on June 30 at 1:30 p.m. ET in their second Group H match at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023.
The Socceroos started the tournament on a thorny path with a 0-2 loss to Colombia in their first group game on Sept. 25. Morocco, a first-time World Cup qualifier, was thrashed 0-6 by Germany in the first leg.
The Belhos sit in third place in the group behind Germany and Colombia (both with one win and three points).
South Korea, who are looking to reach the round of 16 for the first time in eight years since Canada 2015, must overcome Morocco, who are considered the weakest team in the group.
It’s a chance to bounce back from a disappointing first-leg loss and advance to the knockout stages with a final match against Germany.
South Korea is ranked 17th in the FIFA rankings, well ahead of Morocco (72nd). However, this shouldn’t be taken too seriously as their first opponent, Colombia, is also ranked below them at 25th.
The nature of the World Cup is such that upsets can happen at any time.
Losing to Colombia, a team that could very well be in contention for second place in the group, has undoubtedly raised red flags about their chances of making it to the round of 16. After Morocco, they’ll need to get meaningful results against eventual champions Germany if they want to progress.
The Moroccans are shaky and inexperienced defensively, as evidenced by their first game against Germany. They conceded two goals against Germany, both of which were own goals.
However, the Moroccans will be looking for a meaningful result and are expected to go all out against South Korea. 꽁머니
Morocco qualified for the World Cup by finishing runner-up at last year’s continental qualifier, the 2022 African Women’s Cup of Nations. It was the first time an Arab nation had ever qualified for the Women’s World Cup.
Forward Gizalan Chebak (AS FAR), who scored three goals at the Nations Cup to lead Morocco to the World Cup, and Rosella Ayane (Tottenham) are key players. Ayane scored two goals in the regional qualifiers.
However, the reliance on these two players has been criticized.
Morocco will likely play a similar game plan to the one against Germany, with a heavy emphasis on defense and counterattacks.
Watch out for Belho, who conceded two goals against Colombia, one from a penalty kick for a handball foul and the other from an error by goalkeeper Yoon Young-gul (BK Hecken). When the ball is in transition, it’s all about concentration.
Depending on the outcome of the Germany-Colombia match and the final group game, it will be important to win by as many goals as possible against Morocco, as the number of goals conceded and goals scored will determine the outcome.
With two-time World Cup champions and heavy favorites Germany as Belho’s final opponents, there is no room for error. They need to put everything on the line against Morocco.