Spain clinched a dramatic quarter-finals berth, seeing off Korea Republic 7-6 on penalties, with Kim Kyung Jung the player to miss from the spot in Manizales. The Spainards were the better side throughout normal time, but plagued by several missed chances, were unable to break the goalless deadlock in extra-time.
Expectedly, Spain controlled the possession in the opening quarter-hour. Unexpectedly, though, they were unable to uncork a resolute backline. On 15 minutes Korea Republic almost had a sight of goal. Lee Yong Jae collected the ball on the right and appeared to have a clear path towards a shooting position. However, the No9's touch let him down and Marc Bartra got across to make an interception.
Soon after Daniel Pacheco and Koke combined wonderfully. The former fed the latter, who flicked the ball back into the left-winger's path. Pacheco unleashed a powerful shot that moved in the air but went just high and wide.
Moon Sang Yun failed to control the ball at the back post when he would have had a great chance, before Kim Young Uk's bullet forced Fernando Pacheco into a fine diving save.
Rodrigo curled a shot just inches wide for Spain on 26 minutes, before Choi Sung Guen's thunderbolt brought a smart push over out of Fernando Pacheco.
With the clock ticking down on the opening period, Oriol Romeu made a brilliant tackle, with the ball falling to Cristian Tello. The Barcelona player knocked it into his own path and unleashed a low drive from distance, which a diving No Dong Geon pushed away. Then, Tello slipped past his man down the right and cut the ball back to Daniel Pacheco, who cut inside but had his shot blocked.
After a slow start to the second half, Julen Lopetegui withdrew Daniel Pacheco for Isco. And after Spain continued to struggle to break down Korea Republic, the coach brought on Alvaro Vazquez, who hit a hat-trick last time out, for, surprisingly, Sergio Canales.
On 62 minutes, Rodrigo jinked inside his marker nicely but his powerful, low shot from distance went two yards wide.
Twelve minutes from time an outstanding ball over the top of the defence from Isco sent Tello through on goal. However, the No18 hesitated and a great chance become a half-chance, which was subsequently blocked.
On 84 minutes Rodrigo drifted in from the right and unleashed a shot which went out for a throw rather than a corner. However, if that long-range attempt was poor, Kiko's moments later was brilliant, though his thunderbolt went just inches wide of the Korea Republic post. Soon later an action-dry second half was brought to a close.
Vazquez tried an acrobatic overhead-kick six minutes after the restart, but failed to get a proper connection on the ball. With the first period of extra-time almost done, Korea Republic had arguably the best chance of the match. Lee Yong Jae was sent clean through, from a slight angle inside the area, but under pressure he totally miscued his shot. It was a big let-off for the Iberians.
Spain nevertheless had three wonderful chances to win it in the final 15 minutes. On 111 minutes, Koke dinked the ball superbly into the path of Antonio Luna, who sprinted from the left into the area. Vazquez, right in front of goal, was screaming for the cut-back, but the No3 selfishly shot from a very tight angle and it went across goal and out for a goal-kick.
Moments later No failed to hold an Isco piledriver. Tello bundled the ball goalwards but skipper Jang Hyun Soo hooked it off the line and to safety. Then, from a free-kick 20 yards from goal, Vazquez rattled the crossbar.
The match was bound for penalties, and in a tense finish, Kyung Jung sent his spot-kick sailing over the crossbar to send Spain through to the quarter-finals. Spain will meet the winner of the Round of 16 match between Brazil and Saudi Arabia set to take place later in the evening.