A teenage girl made a bold play against the ‘big ship’ Germany. It was a game that confirmed the future and potential of Korean women’s soccer.
The Korean women’s soccer team 메이저놀이터 , led by head coach Colin Bell, drew 1-1 with Germany in the final Group H match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand Group H held at the Brisbane Stadium in Australia on the 3rd (Korean time).
With this, Korea finished the World Cup with a final score of 1 draw and 2 losses (1 point), 4th in the group. Although it was late, it was a game that showed Korea’s potential. Korea, ranked 17th in the FIFA rankings, played an even game against Germany, a strong candidate for the championship and ‘ranked 2nd’. Korea lost all of the preceding two games, making it virtually impossible to advance to the round of 16, but they showed their fighting spirit to the end. Germany failed to advance to the round of 16, finishing third in the group (1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss) as it was caught by Korea. It was a shocking result to be eliminated from the group stage for the first time in the history of German women’s football.
On this day, Korea took out a different attack card from the first and second games. ’16-year-old youngest’ Casey Fair (PDA) and ’21-year-old striker’ Chun Ga-ram (Hwacheon KSPO) were put forward. It was an unconventional choice by director Bell. Even if veteran sisters Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC) and Cho So-hyun (Tottenham) supported her, her opponent was Germany, a favorite for the championship.
However, Casey and Garam Chun were not intimidated even against the German defense team, which consisted of world-class players with enormous physiques. Rather, he was bold and launched an active attack.
Casey had a threatening chance from the 3rd minute of the first half. After receiving a pass from ace Ji “Gimesh” So-yeon, she went head-to-head with German goalkeeper Merle Fromms. Casey was uncharacteristically calm for such a young age. The shot was fired only after confirming the position of the opposing goalkeeper. The shot hit the post after being hit by a super save by Froms. Case covered his face with both hands in regret.
However, Casey’s performance caught the mood in Korea. In the 6th minute of the first half, Cho So-hyun, the ‘commander of the midfield’, scored the first goal. A fierce game continued. In the 42nd minute of the first half, Korea gave a header equalizer to world-class German striker Alexandro Pope, but he did not waver and prevented an additional goal. At the end of the second half, captain Kim Hye-ri, as well as ’39-year-old eldest sister’ goalkeepers Kim Jung-mi and Cho So-hyun, collapsed on the ground while playing with a lot of fighting spirit.
Casey continued to play an active role until the end. He scrambled to find space between the defenses, and jumped high despite the opponent’s rough pressure, participating in an aerial contest. He actively participated in defense and was a boon to the team. In his first World Cup start, the 16-year-old girl did an excellent job.
Born to an American father and a Korean mother, Casey became the first mixed-race player in the history of the Korean women’s national team to wear her Taegeuk mark. She came on as a substitute in Colombia in the first match and Morocco in the second, where she performed well in a small amount of time and received a lot of attention. Against Germany, she even got a chance to start.
Chun Ga-ram, who started with Casey, also moved from the side, and she led Korea’s attack. Garam Chun is a player nicknamed ‘Chun Messi’ for his outstanding performances in her WK league. She is a promising prospect for her future growth.
Sports specialist ESPN also said, “Korea cannot afford to rely only on Ji So-yeon and Cho So-hyun, who are in their 30s. Fortunately, the positive point of this tournament is that Casey appeared.” He started at a young age, but Casey wasn’t intimidated by this fact, and he appealed himself well.”
Although Korean women’s football failed to advance to the round of 16, which they had dreamed of, it is true that they left several achievements. Young players such as Casey and Garam Chun performed well on the world stage. The upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics and the next World Cup made me look forward to it. Following Ji So-yeon and Cho So-hyun, she discovered the lumber that will lead the future of Korean women’s football.