OLYMPICS

South Korea eliminates Great Britain

DREAM CRUSHED
Sturridge was the only Britain player to miss his penalty kick in the shootout on Saturday.
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MEDAL CONTENDERS

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South Korea beat Britain 5-4 in a penalty shootout on Saturday night, advancing to the semifinal of the men's soccer tournament at the London Games and eliminating the host nation.

Ki Sung-yueng scored the winning penalty after Daniel Sturridge missed the fifth penalty for Britain, which hadn't fielded a men's Olympic soccer team since 1960.

The score was 1-1 after regulation time, and neither team scored in the 30-minute overtime.

South Korea will play its semifinal against Brazil, which won its quarterfinal earlier Saturday, 3-2 against Honduras.

South Korea's Ji Dong-won scored on a long-range shot at the 29-minute mark, but Aaron Ramsey tied the score on a penalty six minutes later. He could have given Britain a 2-1 lead not long after, but he missed a second penalty for a handball.

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Sturridge, who plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League and was one of the sharpest British players of the night, paused for a second in his run-up to his left-footed penalty shot, then kicked the ball toward the right side of the goal. Lee Bum-young, a substitute keeper, guessed correctly, diving to punch the ball away.

That left it up to Ki to give South Korea the victory. The forward, who plays for Celtic of the Scottish Premier League, shot powerfully into the top left-hand corner of the net, and Britain's hopes for an Olympic medal in the sport it invented were over.

''I think that's our sixth game maybe. The Korean lads had, I think, played 18 games unbeaten, so that's the sort of preparation they've had compared to our preparation,'' said Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, who scored in the shootout. ''We've got better each game, but it was a bit difficult for us today.''

South Korean coach Hong Myung-bo said he knew English teams had problems with penalty shootouts and hence had a ''strong belief'' his team would prevail.

''The only thing that I told them was to keep calm and kick the ball with confidence,'' he said. ''I asked the players to make it very difficult for (Britain) to play its own game.''

For the English players on Britain's unified squad - and coach Stuart Pearce - going out of a major competition on penalties shouldn't be a surprise. England's penalty record stands at six defeats and one victory from seven shoot-outs at major tournaments. Pearce himself missed against Germany in the 1990 World Cup semifinal.

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