South Korea eliminates host Britain
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 first Olympics semifinal in soccer 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, when Britain was given another penalty, but his shot was saved.
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 goalkeeper, 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.
There's no guarantee that the nation will field another unified team. With opposition from the football associations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, few see any chance of another team at the 2016 Rio Games.
South Korean coach Hong Myung-bo said he had a "strong belief" his team would prevail because he knew English teams had problems with penalty shootouts.
"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 team, 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. British coach Stuart Pearce himself missed against Germany in the 1990 World Cup semifinal.
"The first day we got together as a group we practiced penalties," 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."
Manchester United star Ryan Giggs, who scored in the shootout, pointed out that the team had played only about a half-dozen games together.
"The Korean lads had, I think, played 18 games unbeaten, so that's the sort of preparation they've had compared to our preparation," Giggs said. "We've got better each game, but it was a bit difficult for us today."
After Ji's goal, Britain was trailing for the first time in the competition but tied the score soon after.
Craig Bellamy found space on the right and pulled the ball back to Ryan Bertand, whose shot hit the hand of Oh Jae-suk. Overruling noisy South Korean protests, referee Wilmar Roldan awarded the penalty. Aaron Ramsey hit a low shot to the left that squeezed under the keeper.
Within minutes, Britain had the chance to take the lead when referee Roldan again pointed to the penalty spot for a foul on Sturridge by Koo Ja-cheol. This time Ramsey wasn't so lucky. He again kept the ball low, hitting it to the right, but the shot was easily saved.
Japan 3, Egypt 0
Japan advanced to the semifinals Saturday with a 3-0 win over a short-handed Egypt team after goals from Kensuke Nagai, captain Maya Yoshida and Yuki Otsu.
Nagai scored in the 14th minute after midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake stripped the ball off a defender near the halfway line, turned and ran down the right before firing in a hard cross just inside the penalty area.
Nagai chested the ball down and turned around Egypt goalkeeper Ahmed Elshenawi and defender Saadeldin Saad, who collided and sprawled to the ground. Nagai slotted into an empty net.
But Nagai hurt his leg during the goal and had to be taken off on a stretcher. He tried to come back but was taken out in the 20th minute, with forward Manabu Saito coming on.
For Japan's second goal, Yoshida was unmarked and scored on a header in the 78th minute from a free kick. Japan's third came in the 83rd with another header, this time from Otsu, after a cross.
Egypt's best chance came in the 77th, when a dipping shot from midfielder Mohamed El Neny appeared to be going in but Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda dived to his right and made the save.
The Baby Pharaohs saw more of the ball after the first goal and started creating problems for the Japanese with better build-up and dangerous balls into the box.
Right back Ahmed Fathi sent a low cross in for forward Emad Meteab, but he sent his shot wide from near the 6-yard box in the 30th. Fathi sent in a similar cross in the 36th that Japan defender Hiroki Sakai had to back-kick over his own crossbar.
Egypt was reduced to 10 men in the 41st when Saad was sent off for fouling Saito just before he entered the penalty area as the last man in a goal-scoring opportunity.
Japan started off the match brightly, dribbling past defenders with ease and getting behind the back line with ease. But the Japanese failed to convert the chances until the goal. They continued to press forward in the second half, trying to take advantage of the extra man.
Japan's soccer team won a bronze in 1968 at the Mexico City Olympics, but failed to take part in another Olympics until 1996 in Atlanta. Now the Japanese are slowly starting to become a rising force in world soccer, drawing on a solid youth program. The national team qualified for the 2010 World Cup and advanced to the first knockout round before being eliminated in a penalty shootout by Paraguay after a 0-0 draw.
Mexico 4, Senegal 2
Giovani Dos Santos and Hector Herrera scored extra-time goals Saturday to lead Mexico over an error-prone Senegal 4-2 and into the semifinals.
Jorge Enriquez gave Mexico an early lead and Javier Aquino added another at Wembley Stadium. But Senegal rallied with goals from Moussa Konate and substitute Ibrahima Balde.
Mexico will next face Japan on Tuesday at Wembley.
Brazil 3, Honduras 2
Brazil escaped a scare against 10-man Honduras on Saturday, twice coming from behind to earn a 3-2 win and advance to the semifinals of the men's Olympic soccer tournament.
Honduras got goals early in each half but could not hold on as the Brazilians played with an extra man from the 33rd minute after defender Wilmer Crisanto was sent off with two yellow cards just a minute apart.
Mario Martinez put Honduras ahead in the 12th minute before Leandro Damiao equalized in the 38th. Roger Espinoza gave Honduras the lead again in the 48th, but Neymar evened the score by converting a penalty kick in the 50th and Damiao netted the go-ahead goal in the 60th to keep Brazil on track for its first Olympic gold medal.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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