In the Argentine autumn, "An Italian summer" sounded while the kids of the Italian Sub 20 celebrated a historic classification. Italy doubled the bet. With ten minutes left, the '20' entered the '10' and Simone Pafundi nailed a free kick in the best style of Diego Maradona in the stadium of La Plata that bears his name for the final 2-1 score against South Korea and put the 'Azzurra' for the first time in a U20 World Cup final, after being eliminated in the semifinals in the two previous editions. On Sunday, on the same stage, they will define the title with Uruguay, while the South Koreans will play Israel for third place.
Not in vain the two protagonists of the second final at the Unico Diego Maradona stadium reached this instance. They were also in the top four at the last World Cup, played in Poland in 2019. They ratified their prominence in the category throughout the tournament and played as a match of this instance is disputed: to claw, strength and technique.
Italy was excited about a good start in which it seemed that it imposed its highest quality on the Koreans. Casadei's goal in the 14th minute, received a back pass, hit as it came from outside the area and nailed it at an angle, justified it. However, the penalty with which Korea reached equality changed the course of the match.
Of course, the Argentine Yael Falcón Pérez did not immediately notice the Italian's stomp on the Korean inside the area. There was a call from the VAR, reviewed and sanctioned. Then, Lee Seung-Won established equality. From there, the game was even, very frictional in the middle, with a poor playing field that did not help too much to the good intentions of both teams.
Photo: AP/Ricardo Mazalan.
The neatness in the transfer of the ball and patience to reach the rival goal contrasted with the vertiginousness that the Koreans printed every time they recovered the ball. That's why the final part kept that appeal, because the goal could come for either of them at any time. In five minutes, between 13 and 17, Prati almost converted a header and Kim rejected on the line, and then, the goalkeeper rejected the corner a powerful shot from Jun-Ho.
The first applause of the night was taken by Jun-Ho, the striker who entered in the second half, and threw a pipe to Zanotti that drove the whole stadium crazy, with fewer spectators (20,998) than in the first turn, clearly turned in favor of the Asians. However, those who celebrated were those who flew the white, green and red tricolor flags, after that impeccable free kick by Pafundi.
Uruguay and Italy, then, the two countries that won the first world cups in majors (1930 and 1950 the Celeste; 1934 and 1938 the Italians), will be protagonists of the final of the 2023 World Cup in Argentina.