WEMBLEY: One of the few negatives on one of the greatest days in British Olympic history ended with a familiar quarter-final penalty shoot-out exit, this time for Great Britain at the hands of Korea Republic.
Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge missed the vital last kick, allowing Celtic’s Ki Sungyueng to send South Korea into a last four meeting with Brazil at Old Trafford on Tuesday ona 5-4 shootout after a 1-1 extra-time draw.
Much like their female counterparts 24 hours earlier, GB had been quickly forced onto the back foot by quick, dangerous opponents. Jack Butland made an excellent save to deny Ji Dongwon, then Park Jongwoo fired over from the edge of the area before Arsenal’s Park Chuyoung got above Joe Allen without being able to keep his powerful far-post header down.
Given their dominance, it was no surprise the Koreans grabbed the initiative, although, after an eye-catching tournament to date, Butland let himself down by failing to make what appeared a fairly routine save.
Half an hour elapsed before GB put together their first attacking move of any significance and that ended with an unfortunate ricochet off Craig Bellamy.
However, the game changed when Wilmar Roldan awarded the hosts two penalties in the space of four minutes. The first was for an handball by Oh Jaesuk as he slid in to block Ryan Bertrand’s shot, the aecond when Sturridge went down following a tackle from Hwang Seokho. Aaron Ramsey stepped up on both occasions. His first shot crept under Jung Sungryong’s body. The second time he went for the opposite side, read it, and palmed it away.
At least the shift in fortune made for a more positive approach from GB and a good run and cross from Bellamy was inches away from being turned home at the near post by Tom Cleverley. Richards was threatening inside the Korean box when he collided in mid-air with keeper Jung Sungryong, an incident which ultimately resulted in both men being replaced.
Celtic midfielder Ki and Kim Younggwon both failed to hit the target with decent opportunities before Ramsey should have turned home Sturridge’s cross as the game headed towards extra time. The South Koreans burst back in to life and after Butland had only been able to parry Koo Jacheol’s shot, Ji somehow guided the rebound wide when it seemed easier to just head into the corner.
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