Team GB 1-1 South Korea (AET)
South Korea win 5-4 on kicks from the penalty mark
London 2012 Olympic Games
7.30pm, Saturday 4 August 2012
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Live on BBC3
Great Britain’s dreams of claiming Olympic gold are over after the hosts suffered a heartbreaking defeat on penalties to South Korea at the Millennium Stadium.
After 120 minutes and four penalties each, nothing separated the two sides, but Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge’s saved effort handed Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung the chance to send his side through to the last four, and he made no mistake from 12 yards.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey had cancelled out Sunderland striker Ji Dong-Won’s opener, and the visitors missed a host of chances to claim the victory in normal and extra-time before Ki prolonged South Korea’s stay at the Olympic Games.
Great Britain, who were bidding to reach the last four of the Olympic men’s football tournament for the first time in 64 years, made a slow start, with South Korea’s energetic pressing and dynamism pinning the hosts back in their own half.
Team GB were lucky to avoid falling behind in the 18th minute when Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young rose highest at a set-piece, but his free header from three yards out whistled over Jack Butland’s crossbar.
It took until 24 minutes for Stuart Pearce’s side to register their first attempt of the match. Sturridge laid the ball off for the on-rushing Ryan Bertrand, whose wild left-footed strike soared over the bar, failing to trouble goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong.
And South Korea made their early dominance count just before the half-hour mark when Ji Dong-Won gave his side a deserved lead. A long ball from defence was turned into the path of Ji, and the Sunderland striker arrowed a swerving shot beyond Butland into the far corner of the net.
The goal awoke the previously sluggish hosts, and they were back on level terms within six minutes.
Skipper Craig Bellamy picked out Bertrand in the box, and the Chelsea man’s scuffed first-time effort hit Oh Jae-Seok on the hand, forcing the referee to point to the spot.
Ramsey stepped up to convert the penalty, with his low effort fortuitously squirming through Jung’s body to find the back of the net.
However, Ramsey failed to put his side in front when Team GB were awarded another penalty just three minutes later. Sturridge, who had latched onto a well-weighted ball from Scott Sinclair, was felled inside the box by Hwang Seok-Ho, but Ramsey’s resulting spot-kick was easily repelled by Jung.
Both sides attacked in spells during the second half, and Team GB ensured a lucky escape late on when the unmarked and unchallenged Ji connected with a long, arcing cross from the right-hand side and glanced across the face of goal with just Butland to beat.
The Sunderland forward again missed glorious opportunities to restore his side’s lead in extra-time, with his 92nd-minute snatched header landing just wide of the post after Butland had parried, before nodding over from six yards out in the 103rd minute.
However, both sets of tired legs failed to find the back of the net again after 120 minutes, prompting the dreaded penalty shootout.
Ramsey opened proceedings with his third penalty of the evening, confidently sending substitute goalkeeper Lee Beom-Young the wrong way with an emphatic effort.
The following seven penalties were all successfully converted, before Sturridge stepped up for the ninth spot-kick.
The Chelsea man suffered the unbearable fate of being the only player to fail from the spot, with his stuttered run-up leading Lee to guess the right way.
Celtic man Ki was thus provided with the opportunity to send South Korea through to a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Brazil, and his confident shot found the top left-hand corner, sending the Asian side into raptures.