The U-17s will take on Japan in a fateful matchup.

South Korea’s U-17 national team, led by Byun Sung-hwan, will face Japan in the final of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 at Pathum Thani Stadium in Thailand on Sunday (June 2). South Korea defeated Uzbekistan 1-0 and Japan defeated Iran 3-0 to advance to the final.

South Korea has won the U-17 Asian Cup twice since its inception in 1985, in 1986 and 2002. It had been 21 years since they hadn’t won the 토토사이트 Asian title. They were runners-up in 2008 and 2014. Japan won in 1994, 2006, and 2018. If South Korea wins, it will tie the record for most wins.

With a spot in the quarterfinals, they’ve already booked their ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Indonesia in November.

But it’s not just a final, it’s a match between Korea and Japan.

In recent years, South Korean soccer has suffered four consecutive defeats in Korea-Japan matches at all levels. It started with a 0-3 loss to Japan in March 2021, followed by 0-3 defeats for the U-16s and 0-3 losses for the U-23s in June 2022. In the East Asian Cup in July 2022, the national team again lost 0-3. They conceded 12 goals and didn’t score a single one during their four straight losses.

In 2022, the U-16 national team was preparing for the current U-17 Asian Cup. Their head coach was Byun Sung-hwan.

The stage was set for Byun to make his mark. The U-17 team defeated Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals, the same team they lost to in the Asian Cup qualifiers last October. Byun even showed the players the diary he wrote during the defeat to spur them on. The final opponent was Japan, the same team he lost to last year.

“We lost 0-3 in a friendly match against Japan in June last year. “Before this tournament, I imagined a storyline where we met Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals and Japan in the final,” said Byun, “and it came true. The final with Japan will be very intense. Both teams have exposed their full strength. I think it will come down to who can recover better.”

Japan has been a formidable force in the tournament. They scored a whopping 19 goals in five games across the three preliminary rounds, quarterfinals, and semifinals.

The outcome of the final Korea-Japan match will also determine the tournament’s top scorer. Through the quarterfinals, Kim Myung-jun (Pohang Steel), Yoon Do-young (Chungnam Institute of Technology), and Kohei Mochizuki are tied for the lead with four goals. Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton Wanderers) in 2012 and Lee Seung-woo (Suwon FC) in 2014 are the only other Korean players to top the scoring charts at the U-17 Asian Cup.

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