Bhubaneswar — South Korea pulled off one of the great World Cup shocks on Monday night, beating Argentina 3-2 in a shoot-out after a thrill-fest 5-5 draw at the Kalinga Stadium.
The Koreans scored twice in the last 10 minutes to overhaul a 5-3 deficit before Kim Jaehyeon stood tall and shut out three Argentinian attempts. When Martin Ferreiro missed, Kim raced towards the corner before being joined in ecstatic style by his team-mates. It was yet another magical moment in an increasingly lop-sided World Cup tournament.
This was Korea’s first win over Argentina since the 2010 World Cup as they became the only Asian side left in the competition. They will now meet the Netherlands, who they also beat at the same World Cup 13 years ago.
“It’s my style,” when The Hockey Paper asked Kim about his karate-style stance in goal, poise and movement to stifle the Argentinians. “It was always to keep them to eight seconds, eight seconds. Impossible is nothing for us. Thank you so much.”
For the second night running, Bhubaneswar was treated to pure hockey fare. Like New Zealand, South Korea simply failed to fold and produced some world-class counter-attacking in their pursuit of the unthinkable.
In their pursuit, they did open themselves up, not least in the moments after scoring. It made for a breathtaking spectacle.
After Maico Casella had opened the scoring in the first quarter – a lacklustre one by this game’s standards – Korea turned the game upside down by scoring two in successive minutes. First through Kim Sunghyun, then Jeong Junwoo.
Nicolas Keenan, then Nicolas della Torre, who netted the first of his two PC strikes, saw Argentina restore parity to go into the break at 3-2.
The final two quarters were akin to human pinball. Jang Jonghyun is one of two survivors from their 2010 World Cup. At 38, he summoned his drag-flicking best as Korea levelled. Della Torre and Keenan again scored side-by-side.
Jang and Lee Nam Yong, from two late penalty corners, took this balmy encounter to a shoot-out.
Korea were brilliant from the 23m, never wavering from their tactic of back to goal and spinning. Their only blemish saw Hwang hit the post. Argentina missed their opening two efforts and were always behind.
The sight of Kim racing towards the corner was a sight to behold.
On meeting the Dutch, Kim said: “The Dutch are the No 1 team here for me. They have 22 goals and are a very good team.”