London 2012

Press release

Korea upset Italy to return to semis after bronze at 1976 Olympics

Kim Yeon-Koung scored 28 points on Tuesday night to anchor Korea to a 3-1 win over Italy and qualify to the semis of the London Olympics

London, Great Britain, August 7, 2012 – Korea qualified for the semis of the 2012 Olympics by edging Italy 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 25-20, and 25-18) anchored by the 28 points scored by their star Kim Yeon-Koung thereby making it to the top four for the first time since the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Italy’s offense was evenly distributed with five players finishing in double digits – and Antonella Del Core top scoring with 16 – but after a good start their play got somehow stuck and the defeat turned this Olympic campaign into another major disappointment after Italy had already failed to find their way to the semis in Athens and in Beijing. Having already taken one set from the USA in the prelims, Korea are expected to be a very tough opponent for the stellar US American side coached by Hugh McCutcheon in the semis on Thursday. 

Korea took a narrow, early lead in the opening set thanks to the tournament’s leading scorer, Kim Yeon-Koung and Han Song-Yi. Italy’s key attacking foursome of Antonella Del Core, Lucia Bosetti, Carolina Costagrande and Simona Gioli all grounded spikes as Italy fought back. They contained Kim Yeon-Koung well, and Gioli excelled as they took the set 25-18.
Korea, expertly co-ordinated by captain and setter Kim Sa-Nee opened up a three-point lead at the start of the second set but they were quickly pegged back by the Italians. Scoring was even throughout the set but Korea eventually pulled clear and won the set 25-21 to draw the teams level.
In the third set, point-scoring was again even as you may expect at this stage of the tournament. Korea edged ahead twice before the second technical timeout as Kim Yeon-Koung continued to dominate but Italy stayed close behind. Korea eventually upped their game and took the set 25-20 to lead in the match having been a set down.
Valentina Arrighetti began to contribute to her side’s scoring but Korea were always in command of fourth set. Better communication was evident as the Asian side put together some nice attacks to pull away at 16-11. Frustration was beginning to show on the faces of the Italy side, who are the No.4 ranked side. Korea, ranked No.15, edged towards a famous victory and after some lacklustre Italian defending, took the final set 25-18.

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