Korea Republic's campaign ends
Reims: Korea Republic produced their best performance of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat, which confirmed their group stage elimination on Monday.
Yoon Duk-yeo’s side conceded penalties at the beginning of each half, overshadowing a spirited overall display which produced 23 shots at goal to eight, with Yeo Min-ji netting her side’s first goal of the tournament.
Norway’s win takes them through to the knockout stage as Group A runners-up, while France’s 1-0 win over Nigeria in their match, held simultaneously in Rennes, confirmed the hosts as group winners.
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With their knockout stage hopes already hanging by a thread following two defeats, Korea Republic made a nightmare start with captain Cho So-hyun conceding an early penalty for a foul on Maria Thorisdóttir to allow Caroline Graham Hansen to make it 1-0 from the spot after five minutes.
Despite their inauspicious beginning, Korea Republic quickly produced their best football of the tournament, with Yeo Min-ji and Moon Mi-ra both relishing their first starts of the tournament as the East Asians put the Norwegian goal under siege.
More so than in their opening two matches, the talismanic Ji So-yun was influential - shrugging off defenders, finding pockets of space and occasionally testing Ingrid Hjelmseth in the Norwegian goal.
It became clear that the Koreans were on top of the Scandinavians in all meaningful aspects of the game other than the score, but Yeo hitting the side-netting in the 43rd minute was the closest they came to being rewarded for their dominance.
Frustratingly for Korea Republic, they began the second half in almost identical fashion to the first, with the concession of a second Norwegian penalty kick.
This time Kang Chae-rim was the culprit, bringing down Graham Hansen in a challenge which saw the opening goal scorer substituted with a foot injury, forcing Isabell Herlovsen to stand in as Norway’s penalty taker, and beat Kim Min-jung despite the goalkeeper getting a firm hand to the ball.
The Koreans didn’t let up in their search for their first goal of the tournament, and a delightful delivery from Ji set up one of the more promising chances for Lee Geum-min, but her header flew over the crossbar.
But Lee made up for that miss with a terrific back-heel assist as Korea Republic netted a deserved goal in the 78th minute, with Yeo capping a fine performance by poking her side’s 21st shot of the match past Hjelmseth from six yards.
The impressive Lee forced the Norwegian shot-stopper into a spectacular save with a vicious 20-yard effort shortly after, and Yeo narrowly missed with a stoppage time header, but despite a gallant effort, no equaliser was forthcoming for the Koreans, whose tournament ended with three defeats.
Photos: FIFA via Getty Images
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