Fri, October 20, 2017 | 21:26
Posted : 2012-08-05 19:16
Updated : 2012-08-05 19:16

Korea beats Britain to reach 1st Olympic semifinal

South Korea’s football players celebrate after defeating Britain 5-4 in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympics at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday. The Korean team, which reached the semifinals for the first time in Olympic history, will face Brazil on Wednesday morning (KST). London Olympic Joint Press Corps

Taegeuk Warriors to meet Brazil Wednesday

By Jung Min-ho

South Korea defeated Team Great Britain 5-4 in a dramatic penalty shootout Sunday (KST) to reach the Olympic semifinals after the game finished 1-1 following extra time.

This is the first time the Taegeuk Warriors have advanced to this stage of the football competition in the 64 years since Korea first competed in the Summer Games in 1948 when they were also held in London.

Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yueng scored the winning spot kick to end the two-hour contest after Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge’s fifth penalty for Britain at the Millennium Stadium was saved.

Two Korean goalkeepers, Jung Sung-ryong and Lee Bum-young became the heroes of the night after each saved penalty attempts at critical moments.

“I thought the game would be very challenging. I think we won because our players were mentally stronger than the British players,” Korea manager Hong Myung-ho said after the match. “Our strategy was to keep pressuring the opposition players although it would be tough for us as well in terms of stamina. Team Korea deserves praise for the victory.”

Hong was a member of the 2002 FIFA Korea-Japan World Cup team, where he scored the winning penalty in the shootout against Spain to send Korea into the final four.

Korea went ahead when Sunderland forward Ji Dong-won found the Britain’s net with a long-range shot in the 29th minute as the Warriors and had the better first half. Ji had an earlier effort saved and Park Chu-young missed a great heading chance to open the scoring.

However, Team GB equalized from the spot six minutes later after Ryan Bertrand’s low shot hit the defender Oh Jae-suk’s hand in the penalty area and Aaron Ramsey’s shot just beat the keeper. The Wales captain then had the chance to give his side the lead. Britain was awarded a second penalty after Hwang Seok-ho was ruled to have felled Sturridge in the box but the home nation’s hopes of an Olympic football medal faltered when Jung saved it.

Britain showed more determination in the second half but Korea duly responded. The deadlock continued through extra time as the encounter looked ever more likely to be decided by penalties although Koo Ja-cheol had an effort saved and Ji had two good chances to put the tie to bed.

After each of the first four spot-kick takers converted for their country, Sturridge’s pause in his run up did not fool Lee who punched the attempt away.

Ki stepped up calmly with the crowd doing its best to distract him and, powerfully dispatched the ball into the left corner of the net.

It was a disappointing end for the 70,000 home fans who were hoping to spur their side on to the medal games.

“The first day we got together as a group we practiced penalties,” Britain's coach Stuart Pearce said. “Daniel (Sturridge) got the winner three days ago that got us out of the group stages, and today he misses the penalty. You have days like that, but he will benefit from it if my experience is anything to go by.”

The victory means Korea will face Brazil at Old Trafford on Wednesday (KST) for a place in the final. Ahead of the clash against the tournament favorites, which beat Honduras 3-2 the same day, Ji was confident, saying that there is still plenty of desire in the locker room.

“We've all come here to win a medal,” Ji said. “We never lost our focus until the end. I had chances to score in the second half and extra time, but the rest of the team did their best. We're all confident that we can achieve our goal.”

Former World Cup semifinalist and current Olympic team manager Hong also seems to believe Korea can repeat this victory against the Beijing Olympic bronze medalists.

“We know our next opponent is Brazil. After today’s match, however, we are not afraid of any team,” Hong said. “We will be ready for the game to live up to the fans’ expectation.”

Meanwhile, Japan will go head to head with Mexico at Wembley Stadium on the same night for the other place in the final.

관련 한글 기사

4강 기적 홍명보號 '지동원 카드 적중'

한국 축구의 염원인 올림픽 4강 달성의 원동력은 홍명보 감독이 영국을 집중적으로 분석해 마련한 '족집게 전술'의 승리였다.

홍명보 감독이 이끄는 올림픽 축구 대표팀은 4일 오후(현지시간) 영국 웨일스 카디프의 밀레니엄 경기장에서 열린 개최국 영국과의 8강전에서 120분 연장 혈투 끝에 1-1로 비긴 뒤 승부차기에서 5-4로 이겨 준결승 진출을 달성했다.

이날 한국은 킥오프 5분 만에 오른쪽 풀백인 김창수(부산)가 팔뚝뼈를 다치고 후반 9분에는 주전 골키퍼 정성룡(수원)이 프리킥을 막는 과정에서 어깨 부상을 당하는 악재를 만났다.

이 때문에 한국은 교체 카드를 일찌감치 써버리는 통에 선수들 대부분이 120분을 멈춤 없이 뛰는 최악의 상황에 봉착했다.

하지만 선수들은 정신력으로 버텨내며 집중력을 잃지 않고 승부차기 5개를 모두 꽂아 값진 승리를 차지했다.

무엇보다 영국을 겨냥해 선택한 '지동원 카드'와 영국의 돌파를 막기 위한 '블록형 수비 전술'이 제대로 먹힌 게 승리의 밑거름이 됐다.

홍 감독은 이날 왼쪽 측면 날개로 그동안 주전으로 나섰던 김보경(카디프시티) 대신 지동원(선덜랜드)을 선택했다.

조별리그 3경기를 치르며 체력적으로 힘들어하는 김보경 대신 그동안 교체멤버로 사용해온 '백업 공격수'인 지동원을 선발로 선택했다.

잉글랜드 프리미어리그에서 활약하면서 영국 선수들의 경기 방식에 익숙하고 186㎝의 장신으로 공중볼을 따내는 능력이 좋다는 점이 홍 감독의 낙점을 이끌어 냈다.

지동원은 120분 연장 접전을 풀타임 소화하면서 전반 29분 기성용(셀틱)의 패스를 받아 페널티지역 왼쪽에서 강력한 왼발 슈팅으로 선제골을 꽂아 홍 감독의 미소를 자아냈다.

선제골뿐 아니라 후방에서 최전방으로 날아오는 공간 패스를 머리로 잡아내 동료에게 연결하는 역할도 성공적으로 수행했다.

'지동원 카드'만큼이나 홍 감독이 선택한 수비전술도 큰 효과를 발휘했다.

홍 감독은 이날 최전방에서 포백라인까지 간격을 20m 이내로 유지하는 전술을 가동했다.

워낙 한국 선수들이 촘촘하게 배치되자 영국 선수들은 좁은 공간을 뚫는 데 애를 먹었으면서 결국 후방에서 전방으로 긴 패스에 의존하는 단순 축구를 구사할 수밖에 없었다.

비록 두 차례 페널티킥을 내줬지만 그 상황 이외에는 별다른 위기를 맞지 않아 성공적으로 경기를 마칠 수 있었다.

선수들이 일정한 간격을 유지하려면 강한 체력이 필수적이다. 후반에 간격이 넓어지기도 했지만 선수들은 강인한 정신력을 버텨내며 영국의 막판 공세를 철저히 막아냈다.

박문성 SBS 해설위원은 "개인 기량에서 부족한 면을 수비 전술로 막아낸 최고의 경기력을 펼쳤다"며 "영국에서 뛴 경험이 많은 지동원과 연장전까지 투지를 발휘한 선수들의 정신력이 돋보였다"고 설명했다. (런던=연합뉴스)