Colleen Bell’s young squad kicks off Olympic qualifying with a big win.
The South Korea women’s national team (ranked 20th in FIFA), coached by Colleen Bell, cruised to a 10-1 victory over Thailand (ranked 46th) in the first match of Group B of the second Asian qualifying round for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games 텍사스홀덤 at Xiamen Yigret Stadium in Fujian Province, China, at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
After the victory over Thailand, South Korea will face North Korea (unranked) on Sept. 29 and China (15th) on Sept. 1.
South Korea started with Ji So-yeon (Suwon FC), followed by Casey Eugene Fair, Chun Garam (Hwacheon KSPO), Shim Seo-yeon, Jeon Eun-ha, Chu Hyo-joo (all Suwon FC), Kang Chae-rim, Jang Seul-ki, Kim Hye-ri (Incheon Hyundai Steel), and Lee Eun-young (Korea University). Kim Jung-mi (Hyundai Steel) was in goal.
South Korea, which was ahead in objective power, took the initiative and knocked on the Thai goal. Despite the offense, no goals were scored.
It was Casey, born in 2007, who broke the stalemate. In the 33rd minute, Korea broke down the Thai defense with a link-up play led by Ji So-yeon. After receiving a forward pass from Ji So-yeon, Casey scored the first goal with a turning shot. It was Casey’s first goal in four matches.
After the first goal, Korea’s firepower came alive. Three minutes later, a ball from Jeon Eun-ha found Chun Gar-ram, born in 2002, with an exquisite winding kick. The ball hit the goalkeeper’s fingertips but went straight into the net. South Korea made one more run. In the 39th minute, a cross from the left was met by Kang Chae-rim. She then scored with a right-footed shot. After being scoreless until the 33rd minute, South Korea scored three goals in nine minutes.
The scoring streak continued in the second half. In the fourth minute of the second half, Kang Chae-rim’s cross was met by Chun Ga-ram, who shot nonstop and found the back of the net. In the ninth minute of the second half, Jang Seul-ki’s cross following a link-up play was slotted home by Kang Chae-rim with her thigh.
Two minutes later, Casey pressed forward and stole the ball from the opposing goalkeeper, then slid it into the empty net. Casey was not satisfied with the two goals. In the 21st minute of the second half, he completed his hat trick off a penetrating pass from Lee Keum-min (Brighton).
Lee, who assisted on Casey’s hat trick, also got on the scoresheet. He converted a one-touch pass from Jang Seul-ki in the 23rd minute. Four minutes later, Chun Garam’s shot was blocked by the goalkeeper, but Moon Mi-ra (Suwon FC), who was in front of the goal, pushed it in.
After Casey, Chun completed her hat trick. In the 30th minute of the second half, Chun headed home a cross from Choo Hyo-joo from the left side. South Korea ended the match with a single goal from Linyapat Mundong in stoppage time as the defense and goalkeeper were not in sync.
Meanwhile, the second round of the Olympic Asian Qualifiers features 12 teams divided into three groups. The three best-placed teams from each group, plus one team from the second-place group, will compete in the quarterfinals. The two finalists will advance to Paris.
South Korea has never competed in women’s soccer at the Olympic Games, which began in 1996 in Atlanta. The team failed to qualify for Tokyo 2020 after being edged out by China.