Game in a sentence
As most of the nation’s eyes focused on the track at Olympic Stadium, Great Britain’s footballers fell to South Korea on penalties.
- No Ryan Giggs for the GB’ers in the starting lineup was the story heading into the final Quarterfinal of Day eight. The South Koreans challenged GB keeper Jack Butland early, forcing a wonderful save in the 15th minute. Butland has been a revelation this tournament, though many scribes -myself included – tend to overvalue small sample sizes in major events such as the Olympics.
- South Korea maintained their early pressure against a disorganized GB squad. Arsenal man – though he rarely saw the field for the Gunners – Park Chuyoung put header just over the bar in the 18th minute.
- And as I praise Butland he is horribly exposed by an emphatic strike from Sunderland’s Ji Dong Won. The Koreans were full value for the goal. Stuart Pearce had some work to do – GB’s play resembled that of a disheveled man stumbling around after a few too many.
- A colleague at theScore described Butland’s attempted save as a schoolboy effort. Bang on.
- PENALTY. A hand ball in the box results in a chance to equalize for Great Britain. Welshman Aaron Ramsey barely puts it behind Jung Sungryong. 1-1. The football gods smile on the rainy isle.
- PENALTY. Not a typo. Seconds after Ramsey’s goal Daniel Sturridge is fouled in the box by Koo Jacheol. Bizarrely, Ramsey walks up again to take the kick after barely scoring on his first attempt. Jung, of course, makes the save. The football gods smirk in defiance.
- Craig Bellamy’s inclusion in the GB squad was a stroke of genius by Pearce. The winger was the most consistent threat for the team throughout the tournament. A dangerous cross from the Welsh International in the 48th minute narrowly missed the foot of Sturridge in the box.
- A scary incident in the 54th minute. Korean Goalkeeper Jung collides with Micah Richards in the box. Both are down for some time before play resumes. Richards, favouring his right leg is subbed off for Craig Dawson. The loss of one of their overagers would be a big blow for GB. Jung was replaced by Lee Bumyoung.
- An excellent one-two between Ramsey and Sturridge in the 63rd minute is thwarted by a timely challenge from Ki Sungyueng, a risky but necessary play from the defender who had already drawn yellow card.
- Joe Allen booked for a sloppy challenge with 20 minutes left in regular time. To be frank, the majority of the second half was devoid of quality play. Both teams waited for a mistake – such tentative play often results in poor football. The tilt at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was not an exception.
- Look who it is. A Welshman for a Welshman. Bellamy makes way for National hero Ryan Giggs in the 85th minute. The Cardiff faithful welcome their prodigal son with a loud roar.
- The introduction of Giggs injected much needed life into the British attack. A beautiful turn by Sturridge in the box nearly resulted in the winner. The Chelsea man was fantastic all night – save one moment.
- It is written. Extra Time in Cardiff. One wonders if Stuart Pearce was having a flashback.
- Redemption for Butland. The keeper made a wonderful save on a Koo Jacheol strike in the opening minutes of Extra Time. The best chance for either side in almost half an hour. No score through the first 15 minutes of extra time. With all eyes on the track at Olympic stadium maybe pressure wouldn’t destroy the psyche of a British team almost surely headed to penalties.
- Penalties, of course.
Let’s hope… Stuart Pearce team talk ahead of penalties: ‘just remember it’s Team GB, not England…’
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) August 4, 2012
- Heartbreak city. GB’s Man of the match Dan Sturridge misses the fifth penalty. Ki Sungyueng puts South Korea into the semi-finals. On a night of firsts for British sport one thing remained the same.
1. Ki Sungyueng
2. Ji Dong Won
3. Daniel Sturridge