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(U20 World Cup) S. Korean goalkeeper determined to block shots in penalty shootouts

2017/05/29 20:12

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By Joo Kyung-don

CHEONAN, May 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean goalkeeper Song Bum-keun said Monday he is confident of making saves in penalty shootouts if his team enters such situations at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Host South Korea will face Portugal on Tuesday in the round of 16 at the U-20 World Cup at Cheonan Sports Complex in Cheonan, some 90 kilometers south of Seoul. From this knockout stage, teams have to go to penalty shootouts if they are tied after the regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time.

"If we lose, it's over," Song said before his team's training at Cheonan Football Centre. "I need to stay calm and do what I've been doing."

   Song has made 14 saves in the last three matches, the second most among the goalkeepers in the 24-team competition. His save rate was 87.5 percent, third best among goalkeepers who played all three group stage matches.

Thanks to his performance, South Korea have allowed just two goals on 52 shots in their Group A matches against Guinea, Argentina and England.

Against Portugal, Song will have an even more important role because of the possible shootout. Although the 19-year-old goalkeeper said that the best situation for the team is to end the match in regulation time, he is ready for a penalty shootout.

"As you play, you develop feelings for penalty shootouts," he said. "If we enter that situation, I will do my best to make saves. I think I can do it."

   Song, who said he once blocked three penalties in a single match, said he doesn't have any special way of stopping penalties, other than trusting his gut feelings.

"I just dive without thinking," he said. "I think I'm tall and if I don't block the shot, there will be a post waiting to block it."

   Song was named after South Korea's legendary attacker Cha Bum-kun. The 194-centimeter player said although he doesn't score goals like Cha, he feels that he is lucky to have become a goalkeeper.

"When I was an elementary school student, my coach told me to play goalkeeper just because I was taller than others," he said. "But that turned out to be a great move. Now I have no regret playing as goalkeeper."

  

South Korea's under-20 national football team goalkeeper Song Bum-keun speaks to reporters at Cheonan Football Centre in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, on May 29, 2017, one day ahead of their FIFA U-20 World Cup round of 16 match against Portugal. (Yonhap) South Korea's under-20 national football team goalkeeper Song Bum-keun speaks to reporters at Cheonan Football Centre in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, on May 29, 2017, one day ahead of their FIFA U-20 World Cup round of 16 match against Portugal. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr

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