YOKOHAMA, Japan — South Korea survived the pressure of the knockout round of the World Cup on Tuesday. Japan, its co-host, didn’t.
Ahn Jung-hwan, who earlier missed a penalty kick, scored 27 minutes into overtime as South Korea sent another soccer giant packing, edging Italy 2-1. Ahn was so exhausted after his header found the net he simply collapsed in the corner before his teammates rushed over to pile on in celebration.
The singing, chanting crowd at Daejeon was nearly as spent as the players from the dramatic 117 minutes of action. But the fans began waving flags as South Korea moved into the quarterfinals, and several of the flags were thrown onto the field for the players to run around with.
“We made it to the last eight because of the big support from the fans,” defender Kim Tae-young said. “We will catch Spain in the quarterfinals — please trust us.”
It was a far cry from the scene in Miyagi, Japan, where Turkey knocked out the Japanese team 1-0. There, bitter tears flowed.
But in South Korea, the tears were joyful, as the Koreans move on to meet Spain on Saturday at Gwangju.
“They’re all best players, the players who came on and the players on the bench. We’re all the best,” said coach Guus Hiddink, a Dutchman hired to turn around a team that never won a game in five World Cups. “The people must celebrate. They’re normal, hard-working people.”
Italy, a three-time champion, joined defending titlist France, Argentina and Portugal on the sidelines. The only other time an Asian team made the quarterfinals, it was North Korea in 1966 — with a victory over Italy.
Italy was down to 10 men when Francesco Totti was ejected with his second yellow card 13 minutes into overtime. Referee Byron Moreno of Ecuador called Totti for diving, although he appeared to fall over the ball.
Earlier, Gianluigi Buffon made a diving save on Ahn’s penalty kick in the 5th minute. Then Italy’s top scorer, Christian Vieri, headed in a corner kick in the 18th for his fourth goal of the tournament.
But Seol Ki-hyeon tied it on a last-gasp attack in the 88th minute after a mistake in the Italian defense.
South Korea had two more excellent chances before extra time, and Vieri missed an open net with seconds remaining.
The victory meant all five major FIFA confederations made the final eight.
Turkey plays Senegal in Osaka, Japan on Saturday. The United States faces Germany in Ulsan, South Korea on Friday, when England and Brazil play in Shizuoka, Japan.
The United States is the longest shot in the field at 25-1. Brazil is the top choice of English bookmakers at 12-5.
Tears and raindrops marked Japan’s loss to the Turks.
Umit Davala’s head, fashioned with a Mohawk hairdo, met Ergun Penbe’s corner kick in the 12th minute. Davala was unchallenged by the Japanese defense and powered in the only goal.
Japan could not retaliate in a constant downpour, and Turkey had its first spot in the quarterfinals.