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Preview: South Korea Under-23s vs. Honduras Under-23s - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Olympic Games Men's Football clash between South Korea Under-23s and Honduras Under-23s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

South Korea Under-23s take on Honduras Under-23s in the Olympic Games on Wednesday, with Honduras needing to win to guarantee their progression to the quarter-finals.

Heading into the match in second place in Group B, a draw would only potentially be enough for Honduras to advance should New Zealand Under-23s and Romania Under-23s also draw in the other game in the group.


Match preview

South Korea's players celebrate following an international friendly in March 2018© Reuters

Having advanced from the group stage in three of the last four Olympics, including when finishing third in London in 2012, South Korea's sterling record in this competition came under serious threat after a 1-0 defeat to New Zealand in their opening match.

However, Kim Hak-bum's side were extremely unfortunate to lose that match to Chris Wood's second-half strike, with Winston Reid preventing a goal-bound effort as the AFC side battered their opponents without managing to find a breakthrough.

South Korea certainly did not show Romania as much leniency in front of goal last time out, running out 4-0 winners, with three second-half strikes coming after Ion Gheorghe had been sent off in first-half injury time.

As such, avoiding defeat against Honduras will prove enough to advance to the quarter-finals due to their superior goal difference in the group, but Hak-bum will clearly be instructing his players to go for the win and wrap up top spot in Group B.

Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez makes a save in penalty shoutout on June 7, 2021© Reuters

Like their forthcoming opponents, Honduras have a proud record at the Olympics, too, having reached the quarter-finals in 2012 before finishing fourth in 2016.

The parallels between the two nations do not stop there, either, given that Honduras also suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat in their opening game to Romania this time around.

It would be fair to say that Miguel Falero's side suffered hard lines, too, given that Elvin Oliva's bizarre own goal was the decisive moment in the game.

Honduras looked to be crashing out of the Olympics when 2-1 down against New Zealand beyond the final 15 minutes of normal time last time out, but two late strikes from Juan Carlos Obregon and Rigoberto Rives turned the game on its head as they moved into second place in the group.

Falero's side cannot afford to rest on their laurels, though, with only a win against South Korea on Wednesday guaranteeing a third successive Olympics quarter-final for La Bicolor Olimpica.

South Korea Under-23s Olympic Games Men's Football form:
  • L
  • W

Honduras Under-23s Olympic Games Men's Football form:
  • L
  • W



Team News

Honduras midfielder Rigoberto Rivas (11) is taken off on a stretcher in the second half against the United States during the semifinals of the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League soccer series at Empower Field at Mile High on June 4, 2021© Reuters

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kim made several changes for South Korea's match against Romania on Sunday, but he is far less likely to make many after a resounding 4-0 victory.

This is particularly the case given that his side only faced 10 men for more than 45 minutes, meaning his players will likely have kept plenty in the tank ahead of Wednesday's showdown.

However, Lee Kang-in could return to the starting XI having scored a quickfire brace after coming on as a late substitute, with Lee Dong-gyeong likely to make way.

Falero, meanwhile, only made three changes to the side which ultimately defeated New Zealand 3-2 in dramatic fashion.

Given that it was two substitutes - Rives and Obregon - who hugely contributed to the win with two late strikes, more changes could be afoot for Wednesday's crucial game.

Rives will almost certainly return to the team, with Luis Palma likely to drop out, while Obregon could replace the misfiring Jorge Benguche in attack.

South Korea Under-23s possible starting lineup:
Bum-keun; Young-woo, Tae-uk, Ji-soo, Yoon-sung; Won-sang, Du-jae, Seung-won, Dong-jun; Kang-in, Ui-jo

Honduras Under-23s possible starting lineup:
Guity; Melendez, Maldonado, Garcia, Decas; Rives, Rodriguez, Alvarez, Reyes; Martinez, Obregon


SM words green background

We say: South Korea Under-23s 1-1 Honduras Under-23s

We can envisage a very closely fought affair on Wednesday, with both sides desperate to avoid defeat, which would guarantee either's exit from the competition.

As such, it would be no surprise to see a draw play out between these two proud Olympic footballing nations, with Honduras hoping the other game in Group B also ends as a low-scoring stalemate should that prove to be the case.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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