Athletic

(LEAD) S. Korea fall to Morocco at Women’s World Cup, knockout hopes hang in balance

South Korea lost to Morocco 1-0 for their second straight defeat at the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday, leaving their knockout hopes hanging by a thread.Ibtissam Jraidi scored the match’s lone goal in the sixth minute in the teams’ second Group H ma…

South Korea lost to Morocco 1-0 for their second straight defeat at the FIFA Women's World Cup on Sunday, leaving their knockout hopes hanging by a thread.

Ibtissam Jraidi scored the match's lone goal in the sixth minute in the teams' second Group H match at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, southern Australia, giving Morocco their first Women's World Cup goal and also their first win.

South Korea will close out group play in a must-win match against world No. 2 Germany on Thursday in Brisbane.

South Korea do not control their own destiny. They must defeat Germany and then have Colombia beat Morocco on Thursday. In that case, Colombia will win Group H with nine points, and leave South Korea, Germany and Morocco all tied at three points. The three tied nations will then need a tiebreaker, with the goal difference being the first criterion.

Through two matches, Germany are sitting at +5 in goal difference, followed by South Korea at -3 and Morocco at -5.

South Korea must prevail by at least five goals. If they win by four goals, South Korea and Germany will be tied in goal difference at +1. Germany will still hold the edge in the next tiebreaker, goals scored.

Colombia shocked Germany 2-1 on Sunday evening to move to the top of Group H at six points and to keep South Korea's fading hopes alive.

With the score knotted at 1-1, Manuela Vanegas headed home the go-ahead marker for Colombia during added time. If the match had ended in a draw, South Korea would have been eliminated.

South Korea, world No. 17, suffered a 2-0 loss to Colombia on Tuesday to begin the tournament, while Morocco, ranked 72nd, lost to Germany 6-0 in their first match Monday.

South Korea went down 1-0 just six minutes into Sunday's contest. Hanane Ait El Haj sent a low cross toward the goal from the right wing and Jraidi redirected the ball home with a diving header. Defender Hong Hye-ji was draped all over Jraidi on the play but still couldn't contain the Moroccan forward.

South Korea didn't register their first shot attempt until 16 minutes in, unable to find much room to maneuver in the attacking zone.

Then in the 26th minute, Ji So-yun found forward Park Eun-seon for a diving header that bounced wide left of the target. Morocco nearly doubled their lead two minutes later when Salma Amani's shot on a fast break went high.

South Korea ratcheted up their offensive pressure in the second half but continued to lack a delicate touch in the attacking third. They finished with 14 shot attempts but didn't put one on target.

Substitute Casey Yujin Phair took a desperate attempt at an equalizer in the 87th minute, but her left-footed shot rolled wide right of the net.

Source: Yonhap News Agency