Korea conceded an injury time winner to Italy at Ashton Gate in Bristol on Wednesday, losing 2-1 and dropping to last place in the final Arnold Clark Cup standings.
Martini Rosucci’s injury time goal pushed Italy up to third place in the four-team tournament, leaving Korea to take a third straight loss just seconds before the final whistle.
Italy had got off to a fast start when Arianna Caruso headed in the opener just six minutes into the game. The Taeguk Ladies buckled down and Ji So-yun came through to deliver a clinical finish early in the second half.
The end result is a bitter one for the Taeguk Ladies and head coach Colin Bell. Korea looked like the more confident side but were unable to deliver, especially at the tail end of the match when flagging stamina and a lack of control has always been a problem for the squad.
As Korea flagged, Italy grew more confident and more settled into the game. In the final 20 minutes it could have gone either way, Korea buoyed by Ji’s goal despite Italy looking decidedly more energetic.
In the end it came down to a goalmouth scramble and a little poke to give the Azzurre the lead and third place in the tournament.
Korea joined England, Belgium and Italy at the invitational tournament in Britain last week as the second-highest ranked team on the official FIFA Women’s World Ranking, well below European champions England, but a few spots above both Italy and Belgium.
The tournament served as an important warm-up event for Korea ahead of the 2023 Australia-New Zealand Women’s World Cup in the summer.
It was also a crucial chance for Korea to see how they actually compare to similarly-ranked European teams, especially because with so little intercontinental football over the past three years, the current FIFA rankings are generally considered to be fairly inaccurate.
The results, unfortunately, speak for themselves.
Korea started off the tournament with what was always going to be a very tough game against hosts England. 안전놀이터
The Lionesses, who will arrive in Australia-New Zealand as one of the definite tournament favorites, made short work of the Taeguk Ladies. Korea lost that game 4-0, but were left with two far more interesting fixtures to go.
Belgium, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, also came out on top, winning 2-1 despite an early goal from Brighton & Hove Albion’s Lee Gum-min that briefly put the Taeguk Ladies in front.
England finish the tournament in first place with three straight wins and a huge plus-10 goal difference, having beaten Italy 2-1 and Belgium 6-1.
Belgium finish second, beating both Korea and Italy 2-1, with the one win over Korea carrying Italy into third. Had Italy not scored the winning goal, the ranking would have still looked the same on goal difference, unless Korea were able to score another three against four on Wednesday.