Team Korea gave its all, but came up just short of taking home their first-ever FIFA World Cup trophy.
Despite the 3-1 loss to Ukraine in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup final held in the Polish city of Lodz, the young Taegeuk Warriors have written a page in history books.
The young squad became the first men's team from South Korea to finish runner-up at a FIFA tournament.
Team Korea scored the first goal of the match as Lee Kang-in converted a penalty kick at the fifth minute. after video reviews confirmed a foul on Ukraine at the right edge of the penalty box.
But the young Taeguek Warriors could not hold on to the early lead, allowing three unanswered goals, one at the 34th minute and two more in the second half.
Although Team Korea fell one win shy of taking its first-ever title at the biennial competition, it was still a remarkable run, as many people didn't expect them to even survive the group stage in the company of Argentina, South Africa and Portugal.
After losing its opener against Portugal on May 25th, South Korea won five consecutive games to reach the final, defeating South Africa, Argentina, Japan, Senegal and Ecuador.
In spite of the loss, South Korea's ace Lee Kang-in, who is also the youngest player on the squad at 18, finished the tournament having scored two goals and adding four assists in seven matches.
For his exploits, Lee was named the winner of the Golden Ball trophy, an award given to the best player of the tournament.
He has become the first South Korean player on the men's side to win the top individual award at a FIFA tournament.
Given that the Golden Ball trophy usually goes to a player on the championship team, it was clear that Lee's playmaking ability had left quite an impression on the tournament observers.
"It wasn't just me playing well. It was my teammates who played their hearts out and and I got this award thanks to them. I feel that this award wasn't given only to me, but to the entire team."
The young Taegeuk Warriors are expected to return to South Korea on Monday and attend a welcoming ceremony in front of Seoul City Hall.
Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News