Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Germany Roars into World Cup Final, End S. Korean Miracle

Germany beated South Korea 1-0 to reach the World Cup final on Tuesday. Michael Ballack scored the winner in the 75th minute. Three-time champions Germany to face the winners of Brazil and Turkey.


Germany's midfielder Michael Ballack scored a goal in the 75th minute, sending his side into the 2002 World Cup final by beating co-hosts South Korea 1-0 in the semi-final clash Tuesday in Seoul.

In a flash attack, German forward Oliver Neuville rushed to the goal line from the right wing and sent a cross into the box where Ballack got to the point in time and fired a shot which was knocked out by keeper Lee Woon-jae. But Ballack's second shot passed Lee into the net.

South Korea, the first Asian team into the semi-final since thefirst World Cup, failed to continue their miracle which had seen their incredible wins over soccer powerhouses such as Portugal, Italy and Spain.

The first 15 minutes of today's match saw the dominance by South Koreans who made their first-ever and incredible appearance in the semi-final of the World Cup but pressed the German soccer giants to their penalty area with speedy attacks.

Only eight minutes into action, South Korea's forward Lee Chun-soo fired a half-volley from the edge of the box to the far-left corner of the goal, forcing German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn to make a flash dive.

In the 16th, midfielder Park Ji-sung danced past two defenders along the penalty line, but his left-foot shot which went through the legs of another defender flew directly to Kahn's arms.

In a quick-pace counter attack only after one minute, Germany'sforward Oliver Neuville got a clear chance in the arc, but South Korea's keeper Lee Woon-jae darted out and dived to save the low blast.

Since the 30th, Germans gradually controlled the match and began to beleaguer their opponents' goal, causing many melees at the goal mouth but never converting any scoring chance. The combative South Koreans used their legs, heads or even bodies to block a string of German shots.

In the 54th, Ahn Jung-hwan, the hero and icon in the eyes of South Koreans, got off the bench and substituted veteran striker Hwang Sun-hong to strengthen the attacking force of his side. Ahn,who headed an equalizer in the group game against the United States and a golden goal in the second round match against Italy, is believed to be the most skillful and good-looking striker in his team.

After Germany's goal, South Koreans launched waves of attacks but created few scoring chances. Park Ji-sung missed the best and the last one in the injury time when he ballooned a close-range shot in the box.

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