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                         25 June 2002, 21:38 Seoul - Tokyo

                       GERMANY 1 : 0 KOREA REPUBLIC

Midfield hero Michael Ballack’s goal led Germany to their fifth final in the last eight tournaments, ending the dream of the Korean nation in the process. The narrow victory in Seoul World Cup Stadium sends the Europeans on to face the winner of Brazil and Turkey, while the brave and surprising co-hosts will play in the third place match.

Though they lacked some punch going forward, the Germans were well-organized and withstood a gritty, confident performance from Guus Hiddink’s men. Both teams barely set a foot wrong all evening in defence, but when Korea did, the three-time champions made them pay.

Amidst the booming sounds of the home support, Germany had an early chance as Carsten Ramelow ran onto a long throw down the right, turned onto his left foot before shooting low, hard but straight at Lee Woon-Jae (2’).

Korea responded immediately as Cha Du-Ri, featuring prominently on the right, squared the ball across the face of the box for Lee Chun-Soo to hit firmly but Oliver Kahn produced an excellent save diving full length to his right (8’).

Another lightning fast Korea break ended up with Park Ji-Sung shooting tamely at Kahn from a good position 15 yards out. And, in a lively opening, Germany raced to the other as Bernd Schneider volleyed well from 20 yards but too close to Lee Woon-Jae (17’).

Germany were beginning to get on top and the best move of the first half saw Oliver Neuville race in on goal but again the Bayer Leverkusen striker was unable to get his final shot away (30’).

A well worked corner was hit to the back post where Marco Bode headed it into the goalmouth before the ball was cleared with difficulty as Korea’s defence stood firm under the barrage of pressure (38’).

It was Miroslav Klose next. The striker, with five headed goals already in the finals, turned on the edge of the area but his right foot shot was blocked by an increasingly desperate Korean defence (41’).

The Mannschaft came agonisingly close to the goal their pressure deserved, but, almost by the will of the boisterous Red Devils crowd, the ball from the whipped in left wing corner evaded three German players as the half drew to a close (43’).

Germany had the opening chances of the second period with Bode coming close with headers twice. First after a tantalising cross from the right by Klose and then from the ensuing corner, but on both occasions the striker was unable to get enough power on the ball (49’).

The game was opening up more with Korea gaining more possession but it was a header by Klose that came closest to breaking the deadlock (63’). Ahn Jung-Hwan, on as a substitute, took a chance on the right edge of the box, but sliced his shot high and wide (64’).

Chances were becoming more frequent now amidst the crowd’s relentless chant and Klose should have done better when volleying the impressive Ramelow’s chipped pass well wide (65’).

The Taeguk Warriors had their best spell of the match and only a Michael Ballack foul on the edge of his own box prevented what looked like a clear scoring opportunity (73’). The yellow card means that Germany’s star midfielder will miss the final.

But just moments later it was that man Ballack who finally broke through for Germany. Good work by Neuville down the right ended with a pull back to the onrushing player, who slotted home at the second attempt (1:0, 75’).

A free kick from Bode almost doubled the lead for Germany but Lee Woon-Jae, who had been magnificent throughout the tournament, punched the shot away diving to his left (80’).

Korea had a late chance when Park Ji-Sung sliced a golden opportunity wide from inside the box. But in the end the co-hosts looked a fatigued but proud side as they saluted the magnificent red support and bowed out after an historic and wonderful tournament.


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