OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: Ominous penalties send Team GB out
DANIEL Sturridge’s missed penalty sent Great Britain crashing out of the London 2012 Olympic Games to South Korea at the quarter-final stage.
A Dongwon Ki effort was cancelled out by Aaron Ramsey’s penalty, but the Arsenal star missed another one just minutes later as the game ended all-square.
RAMSEY STEPS UP: Arsenal youngster scored one, missed one and converted his one of five but still Team GB could not find a way past the South Koreans
Sturridge’s missed penalty separated the sides as South Korea won the dreaded shootout 5-4 to set up a clash with Brazil at Old Trafford.
Stuart Pearce’s side were finding their opponents a tough prospect in the first ten minutes, with the South Koreans closing down all of Great Britain’s space.
Teenage keeper Jack Butland was on hand to make a fine stop on 14 minutes, flying to his right to push away Sunderland’s Ji’s speculative effort.
Team GB, playing under the roof at the Millennium Stadium, were looking for a spark of creativity, but it was South Korea who took the lead through on the half hour.
Ji, who famously scored against Premier League champions Manchester City, fired in his shot from 25 yards out, which went through Butland’s hands and into the net to give his side a deserved lead.
But Great Britain were offered a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty after Jaesuk Oh was adjudged to have handled Ryan Bertrand’s shot, and Ramsey only just beat Sungryong Jung to draw Team GB level on 35 minutes.
The hosts were given another penalty within three minutes after Daniel Sturridge was chopped down by Seokho Wang, but Ramsay’s weak effort down the middle was saved by Jung.
Team GB started well after the break, but struggled to find a high tempo, with an injury to Jung in the South Korea goal meaning a long break.
Pearce was forced into a defensive change, when Micah Richards, who clashed with the South Korean goalkeeper, was carried off and replaced by West Brom’s Craig Dawson.
Sturridge, who still didn’t look fully fit, was played through by Joe Allen on 64 minutes, but was denied by a smart tackle by Celtic’s Sungyueng Ki.
Both sides were unable to break the deadlock as the game went on, but Ji was unlucky to have an effort ruled out on 77 minutes for offside.
The Sunderland man should have scored when he was given a free header at the back post when Team GB’s back line didn’t react.
The Cardiff crowd were calling for the introduction of Ryan Giggs, and the Manchester United legend made his entry with five minutes remaining, replacing fellow Welshmen Craig Bellamy.
Great Britain made the first chance of extra-time, when clever work from Sturridge almost fed Giggs, but the 38-year-old failed to contact.
Ji was having a busy night, and he really should have scored when he was free, but headed wide from eight yards out.
He should have scored again with three minutes of the first period of extra time available as he headed over from just five yards out with no Great Britain player near.
The game came down to a test of nerves as it went to a penalty shoot-out with Ramsay, having scored one and missed one, putting Team GB one-up.
Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley was next up and he coolly slotted home to make it 2-1, while sub Dawson slotted Great Britain’s third penalty for 3-2.
Giggs scored his penalty, but Sturridge missed the decisive penalty when his stuttered run up backfired and Bumyoung Lee saved, while Sungyueng Ki fired in the fifth to send the South Koreans through.
© Sportsbeat 2012