Korea Republic hold on to oust Spain, advance in WWC

BY Jerry Trecker • June 17, 2015

Korea Republic turned the match on its head in the second half, rallying from a halftime deficit to defeat Spain 2-1 in Ottawa on Wednesday night to earn a Round of 16 match against France on Sunday in the Women's World Cup. 

Veronica Boquete put Spain on top, but Cho Sohyun got the Koreans level with a fine header early in the second half before Kim Sooyun drove a cross that drifted into the far top-left corner of the cage in the 78th minute to send the Europeans home.

Both teams were looking to get forward from the start, so the match was wide open in the early stages. Korean keeper Jun Minkyun was comfortable handling Spanish crosses to cut out that danger, while at the other end the Spanish defense was keeping the Koreans from finding much space in the penalty area. The Korea Republic defense was also tight, allowing Spain only long-range looks in the opening phase.

Spain could have been ahead in the third minute, but Natalia Pablos scooped a very good chance from inside the box past the left corner. They did get on top in the 29th minute when Boquete, the 28-year old midfielder, hammered home a fine cross from the left by Marta Corredera. It was a superb build and finish to give the Europeans a deserved advantage.

It could have been two for Spain three minutes later but Pablos was again denied, this time by a super save from Jun Minkyun. In contrast, the Koreans could not muster any real attacks in the opening 45 minutes, failing to put any pressure on the Spanish goal.

That changed eight minutes into the second half when Kang Yumi made a terrific run to the right byline, then cut the cross back for an acrobatic, twisting header from Cho So-hyun to level matters.

Corredera had a chance in the 65th minute when he she pounced on a poor clearance, but Jun Minkyun parried her drive away from the near post. Irene Paredes then saved Spain at the other end with a last-gasp clearance in the 68th minute as the Koreans countered with a left side raid and cross.

Kim Soo-yun then produced the moment that Korea Republic needed, coming clear wide on the right and crossing a ball which completely fooled the Spanish defense and keeper Ainhoa Tirapu before it nestled into the far left corner of the net. She will no doubt always claim that it was shot while the rest of us debate her intentions with the cross.

Sonia had a stoppage time chance to level it for Spain but her 20-meter free kick hit the crossbar with the last attempt of the match.



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