Bhubaneswar: South Korea kept the Asian flag flying in the FIH men’s hockey World Cup 2023 here Monday. Riding on a brilliant performance by goalkeeper Kim Jae-Hyeon, the South Korean squad stunned Argentina 3-2 in a shoot-out after fighting back from two goals down in the fourth quarter to hold the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallists 5-5 in regulation time.
Korea were down 3-5 with 10 minutes to go for the final hooter. They scored two goals from penalty corners, and survived some valiant attempts by Argentina as the match ended 5-5. The Korean goalkeeper had an exceptional match as he pulled out at least four superb saves and also made a couple of good blocks in the shoot-out to seal victory for his team.
Shin Seok’s side joined World No. 1 Australia, defending champions Belgium, World No. 3 the Netherlands, England, Germany, Spain and New Zealand in the quarterfinals. Korea will be hoping to keep the Asian hopes alive when they take on the Netherlands at Kalinga Stadium here January 25.
Korea made it to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006 when they reached the semifinals and finished fourth. They finished sixth in the 2010 edition in New Delhi and 10th in the 2014 edition. They failed to qualify for the 2018 edition held at the same Kalinga Stadium.
After Argentina had taken the lead in the seventh minute, Korea scored two goals within two minutes to take a 2-1 lead before Argentina levelled the score within a few seconds and then take lead again.
Jang Jong-Hyun scored a brace of goals for Korea from penalty corners in the 40th and 49th minutes. The other goals were scored by Kim Sung-Hyun (17th min), Jeong Jun-Woo (19th min) and Lee Nam Yong (55th min). For Argentina, Nicolas Keenan (20th and 46th minutes) and Nicolas Della Torre (23rd and 40th minutes) scored a brace each after Maico Casella had given them the lead.
In the shoot-out, Argentina got off to a poor start when Lucas Toscani fluffed the first attempt. They missed the second too but Korea could not take a 2-0 lead as Taeil Hwang rattled the crossbar. Keenan kept Argentina’s hopes alive and after Ji Woo Cheon and Casella had converted their attempts for their respective teams. It was up to Martin Ferreiro to keep the Argentine hopes alive, but he delayed taking the shot and the Koreans jumped in joy, having sealed their place in the quarterfinals.
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