“We haven’t forgotten what happened four years ago.”
Colin Bell’s (62, England) women’s national soccer team has its sights set on advancing past Group H at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023. The team is aiming to make a major leap forward for Korean women’s soccer beyond the round of 16 at the 2015 World Cup in Canada, their best-ever finish. They also want to erase the nightmare of losing three games in the group stage of the 2019 World Cup in France.
Of the 23 players on board the ‘Belle’, 14 are over the age of 29. Each of them has a painful past, having cried during the devastating three-game loss four years ago or swallowed their disappointment when injuries prevented them from competing in the tournament. That’s why they are preparing for this tournament with extraordinary determination.
“The current team, regardless of position and age, knows how to act and play in their respective positions,” the veterans told SportsDongA before departing for Australia on Tuesday. Over the past four years, we have become a team that is not easily broken.”
Yoon Young-gl (36-BK Hecken) and Park Eun-sun (38-Seoul City Hall), who are trying to make their first World Cup appearance in eight years after overcoming injuries, have spent the last four years “consulting with the gods. Yoon ran 10 kilometers every day to stay in shape, even though she was in her twilight years. Park Eun-sun vowed to “give it my all with the thought that this is my last chance.”
Kim Hye-ri (33-Incheon Hyundai Steel), Cho So-hyun (35-Tottenham Wimmin) and Ji So-yeon (32-Suwon FC Wimmin) were also determined to prove that injuries are nothing in front of the Taegeuk mark. Cho So-hyun is fulfilling the role of a veteran, saying, “Even if we make a mistake, we talk a lot about what to do among the players instead of stressing about it.” “In the past, we’ve fallen apart before big moments, but we’ve grown stronger in the process,” said Kim Hye-ri. “The confidence and atmosphere of the team is better than ever, and I’m looking forward to it.” 메이저놀이터
The veterans also hope that the World Cup will encourage more juniors to head to Europe. The idea is to accelerate the development of Korean women’s soccer. “Coach Bell’s high-intensity training is currently only practiced by the national team in Korea. In Europe, prospects around the age of 17 are already doing high-intensity training,” Yoon said. “I always advise my juniors to go to Europe when they have the chance.” Lee Geum-min (29-Brighton Wimmin) added: “Playing overseas has made me more adaptable to the world stage. I want to be an example for younger players to go abroad.”