A plucky South Korea fought back superbly from a goal deficit to stun three-time champions the Netherlands 2-1 in an action-packed match but it was not enough to qualify for the semi-finals of the hockey World Cup in New Delhi [ Images ] on Tuesday.
In a fast-paced edge-of-the-seat Pool A thriller between the world's fourth and fifth-ranked sides, the South Koreans struck back after the Dutch had taken a lightning-fast lead in the first minute through Ronald Brouwer.
But the lower-ranked South Koreans took control of the game towards the end of the first half to inflict on the Dutch their first defeat in the World Cup in front of a sparse crowd under floodlights at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium.
The South Koreans, who had beaten the Dutch in their last three international matches, twice in 2009 and once in 2008 -- all in the Champions Trophy [ Images ] -- fought back with goals from Hyun Woo Nam Hyun Woo Nam (31st minute) and Jong Ho Seo (45th).
Despite the loss, the Netherlands pipped the Koreans to the post for a semi-final berth on goal difference though they had the same points -- 10 each from three wins, one draw and one loss.
The Dutch, who finished second in Pool A behind Germany [ Images ] (11 points) had a goal difference of 10 (15 scored and five conceded) while the South Koreans, who finished third in the pool, had eight (16 scored and eight conceded).
In the classification matches, South Korea take on Pool B third-place finishers Spain on March 12 for fifth-sixth place.
The Dutch had also their chances to equalise but all of them went abbegging.
Five minutes from the final hooter, Dutch defender Geert Jan Derikx missed a golden opportunity to equalise as he failed to connect a cross from the right with an open goal in front.
In the next minute, the field umpire awarded a penalty stroke to the Dutch, but after an appeal by the Koreans, the video umpire overruled the decision.
There was further drama towards the end of the match, as the umpire awarded a penalty-corner in favour of the Netherlands, but, after referral, the video umpire ruled otherwise and the Dutch chance for an attempt to equalise did not materialise.
The Dutch went into the lead within 30 seconds of the start with Ronald Brouwer scoring after a fine exchange of passes between his captain Teun de Nooijer and Jeroen Hertzberger inside the Korean 25-yard.
After the lightning fast goal, the ball went up and down the field with both teams looking for a fast counter-attack, but unable to find an opening.
The nimble-footed Koreans equalised in the 31st minute through Hyun Woo Nam, whose powerful drag flick beat the veteran Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogel all ends up.
The Netherlands pushed more men upfront which worked well for the nippy Koreans, who made quick counter attacks.
In the first minute after the breather, Hye Sungh Hyun's push in front of the Dutch goal was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Guus Vogels.
In the 42nd minute, Eun Seong Hong got a hit unchallenged inside the Dutch striking circle but mistimed it and the feeble shot did not trouble the goalkeeper.
Three minutes later, the Koreans broke free from a counter attack and captain Jong Ho Seo scored after Sung Hoon Yoon beat the goalkkeeper with his pass inside the Dutch striking circle.
In the 58th minute, Hyok Sik You's fierce reverse stick shot after a quick interchange of passes hit the Dutch goalkeeper on the chest and went out.