In a pivotal game from Group C, Germany tied South Korea 3-3 on Sunday afternoon at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador.
South Korea would have the first half-chance of the match in the 6th minute when Germany midfielder Lars Bender was stripped of the ball by Korean midfielder Heechan Hwang. Hwang broke in on goal but his shot was tame and was comfortably saved by German goalie Timo Horn.
As the first half developed, both sides looked to counter-attack quickly whenever possession of the ball was won. While ball retention and speed of play didn’t always develop into full-blown scoring chances for either team, the individual skill on display was apparent.
In the 25th minute, South Korea tallied the first goal. From a Changhoon Kwon corner kick into the penalty area, the ball ricocheted off a German defender and fell right to Hwang on the corner of the goal area, who coolly finished past Horn for the 1-0 lead.
Germany nearly answered right back in the 26th minute when forward Davie Selke surged through the center of the field and fired a shot from just outside the penalty area that whistled past the Korean goal.
However, in the 33rd minute, the Germans would find the equalizer they were searching for. Serge Gnabry, the sparkplug off the bench for Germany against Mexico, brilliantly finished past Kim from just inside the penalty area. Gnabry, who received a nice layoff from midfielder Julian Brandt, used the Korean defender as a screen and laced the ball with the inside of his right foot into the side-netting to knot the score up at 1-1.
While the Europeans gradually started to have more possession and the better of play, Korea looked very dangerous on the counter-attack. Overall, the first half was even and heading into halftime the score was 1-1.
Three minutes into the second half, Korea was almost handed a goal on a silver platter after Horn tried to dribble in his own penalty area. He took a heavy touch that got away from him but he bailed himself out by barely blocking Kwan’s attempt on goal.
In the 55th minute, the Germans would be rewarded for their quality and sharp movements in the final third. Midfielder Max Meyer slipped his way into the penalty area and layed off a delicate little pass to Davie Selke, who scooped the ball over Kim to make the scoreline 2-1 in favor of the Germans.
But that lead was short-lived. In the 57th minute, Tottenham Hotspurs’ midfielder and arguably Korea’s best player, Heungmin Son, advanced into the penalty area and diced a German defender with a beautiful step-over. Son then slotted a perfect finish through the legs of Horn to tie the game at 2-2.
The tying goal gave the Koreans life as they started to press Germany, dictate play through more purposeful possession, and create more chances for themselves. However, just as it was the Koreans who looked extra dangerous on the counter-attack in the first half, Germany looked very threatening on the counter-attack in the second half.
South Korea’s energy and positive play would pay dividends in the 87th minute. Defender Seulchan Lee blew past a German defender on the endline and whipped in a cross that was steered into the net by substitute and FC Porto forward, Hyunjun Suk.
Germany wasn’t going to let a point slip away though. In the final minute of stoppage time, a Serge Gnabry free kick from just outside the penalty area took a massive deflection and found its way into the net to tie the game back up at 3-3. That was virtually the last kick of the match and the scoreline ended up finishing 3-3.
Germany closes out its group stage schedule on Wednesday, August 10th, vs. Fiji at 3pm in Belo Horizonte. Mexico battles with South Korea on that same day and at the same time in Brasilia.