South Korea's dream has finally come to an end. They fell at the next to last hurdle thanks to a single goal from Germany's star midfielder Michael Ballack and will have to make do with the third place playoff against the loser of tomorrow's game between Brazil and Turkey.
After all the controversy of the last two games against Italy and Spain, FIFA decided to put Swiss referee Urs Maier in charge of the match, and this time there were no bad decisions to speak of except perhaps a couple of penalty appeals from either side.
Germany were on top for most of the first half, particularly near the end when Lee Woon Jae made a good save from Neuville. However Kahn had once again to be at his best making a spectacular one handed save from Lee Chun Soo earlier in the half.
Korea's manager Guus Hiddink had kept his star striker Ahn Jung Hwan in reserve, but he put him on in the second half to try and turn the game around.
However it was Germany who finally made the break through, Ballack scoring at the second attempt after Neuville had laid the ball back from the right wing fifteen minutes from the end. The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder will miss the final though, as he had picked up a yellow card earlier in the game, his second of the final round of matches.
With the game coming to an end Hiddink threw on all the forwards he had left, and Park Ji Sung managed to work himself free only to see Linke block his shot at the last minute.
The Koreans' challenge was over and Germany go through to their seventh World Cup final, hoping to equal Brazil's record four wins. Their opponents could well be the South Americans if they can overcome Turkey, and despite all their appearances it would be a first ever final between the two sides.
Spanish league players: None.
Ronaldo is back! The Brazilian superstar whose career took a sudden downturn at the end of the last World Cup has finally shaken off all the injury problems and bounced back to send his country through to their third consecutive World Cup final. Ronaldo's problems came to light just before last year's final when a reported epileptic fit left him unconscious only hours before the kick off. He played in that match anyway due to commercial pressures, but was a shadow of his normal self and Brazil fell to a famous defeat at the hands of France and Zinedine Zidane.
Now he had returned, and with the scores locked at 0-0 at the start of the second half he ran on to a long pass from Roque Junior to dribble through four defenders and poke a low bouncing shot past the helpless Rustu. It was to be the only goal in a hard fought match, and was to give the South Americans their second victory of the tournament against the resilient Turks.
The two sides had met in their first games at the group stage, and Turkey had taken the lead then before Brazil came back. History looked like repeating itself at first when Alpay's header was saved by Marcos, but after that the first half was all Brazil, with Rustu making a series of great saves from Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos.
After Ronaldo's goal though Scolari ordered his men back, and Turkey found themselves with most of the possession. They only really came close to equalising once though, when Hakan Sukur finally showed a bit of form with a spectacular shot in the air which Marcos did well to save. There was nothing left in the tank though, and they will have to make do with a third place playoff against South Korea on Saturday. The Samba beat marches on to Yokohama, and with Ronaldo the tournament's top scorer with six goals, Rivaldo one behind him on five and Ronaldinho returning from suspension, they must be favourites to beat Germany.
Spanish league players: Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo played the full game, and both came close to scoring. Rivaldo though failed to keep up his record of a goal in every game, despite shooting at goal at every opportunity. Denilson was given a run out at the end, as was Villarreal's new signing Belletti. Real Sociedad's Nihat was a non-playing substitute for Turkey again.