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Past heroes to attend opening ceremony for FIFA U-20 World Cup

Host South Korea will bring back heroes of the past for the opening ceremony of the FIFA U-20 World Cup later this month, organizers said Tuesday.

The top youth football competition will kick off on May 20 at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, some 240 kilometers south of Seoul. Jeonju is one of six hosting cities of the 24-nation tournament that wraps up on June 11.

Members of the South Korean men's under-20 football team pose for photos at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on May 1, 2017. They will compete at the FIFA U-20 World Cup starting on May 20. (Yonhap)
Members of the South Korean men's under-20 football team pose for photos at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on May 1, 2017. They will compete at the FIFA U-20 World Cup starting on May 20. (Yonhap)

South Korea will face Argentina, England and Guinea in Group A. They will try to match the country's surprising run to the semifinals at the 1983 event, and the organizers will invite some key members of that 1983 squad to this year's opening day.

The list includes then-head coach Park Jong-hwan, ex-forwards Kim Jong-boo, Lee Tae-ho and Shin Yon-ho.

The competition was called the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1983. South Korea lost to Scotland 2-0 to open Group A action, but defeated Mexico and Australia in succession to reach the quarterfinals.

Shin scored the overtime winning goal as South Korea took down Uruguay 2-1 to reach the final four. South Korea fell to the eventual champions Brazil 2-1 in the semifinals.

The organizers said they hoped the stars from the 1983 competition will inspire this year's U-20 squad to great heights on home soil.

They added that Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, the first female secretary general of FIFA, will also attend the opening ceremony.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino will be on hand for the final match on June 11 at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, some 45 kilometers south of Seoul.

Twenty-four teams have been divided into six groups of four. The top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place teams, will reach the round of 16. (Yonhap)

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