Spain’s bid to move on to the Round of 16 in its first-ever World Cup went sailing off the crossbar.
Sonia Bermudez had a free kick in extra time against South Korea, dipped the ball over the wall and watched it ping off the crossbar before the referee blew the whistle to end play.
South Korea won 2-1 and earned the second spot in Group E, moving into the Round of 16 with first place Brazil.
It was a crazy ending to an even crazier game that was mostly dominated by the Spanish. Both Spain and South Korea knew they had to win to advance and Spain looked poised to do so after grabbing the early lead 29 minutes into a contest.
It wasn’t surprising. Spain dominated the entire first half with South Korea failing to get any momentum going offensively. South Korea just didn't have the speed to outrace Spanish defenders and many through balls were either blocked or intercepted.
But after halftime, South Korea emerged from the locker room with renewed energy and tied the game in the 53rd minute on a header by So-hyun Cho. Even though Spain continued to dominate play, Soo-yun Kim smacked a laser from outside the right of the 18-yard box that found its way past goalkeeper Ainhoa Tirapu and proved the decisive goal in the 78th minute.
South Korea had just six shots and only two — the two that went in — were actually on goal. Spain had 18 shots and three were on frame.
Because of Korea’s win and Costa Rica’s loss to Brazil, Sweden, the third-place finisher in Group D, earned the last spot in the Round of 16.
The bracket is officially set and very lopsided. Four teams ranked in the top five of the world rankings — Germany, United States, France and Sweden — are all on the same side of the bracket. The United States has the easiest route with Colombia as its next opponent and the winner of China-Cameroon waiting in the next round. China is the highest ranked team among those opponents at No. 16.
The United States and Colombia met in the 2011 World Cup and the U.S. won 3-0.