Ukraine upset European old guard and South Korea to take U-20 World Cup

June 18 – Ukraine won a maiden U-20 word title after rallying from a goal down to defeat South Korea 3-1 in Poland. Korea’s Kangin Lee won the tournament’s golden ball as best player. 

The Ukrainians fell behind early when Kangin converted a fifth-minute penalty after VAR intervention confirmed that captain Hwang Taehyeon was tripped inside the box, but they reacted well to the blow and equalised in the 34th minute with a strike from Vladyslav Supriaha. After the interval Supriaha doubled Ukraine’s score beating the Korean goalkeeper one-on-one.

Heorhii Tsitaishvili ensured victory for Ukraine in the 89th minute with a hot into the bottom corner. Ukraine had never progressed beyond the second round previously, but this time went all the way. At the U-19 European championship last year, they had exited in the semi-final stage.

“I am so happy,” said Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I still have not fully realised what we achieved. It was the most important game in my life. I already got a call from the Ukraine president, who congratulated us. I have been working with these boys for five years, and I am proud. It will be very tough to say goodbye to them.”

In the third place play-off Ecuador edged Italy 1-0 through an overtime goal of Richard Caceido. The bronze medal represents Ecuador’s best-ever finish at the U-20 finals.

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