The South Korean women’s volleyball team (ranked 36th in the world) suffered a heartbreaking upset against the defending Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions, the United States (ranked third), effectively ending their dream of a fourth consecutive Olympic appearance.
The Cesar Hernández González-led team fell to the USA 1-3 (25-20 17-25 19-25 17-25) in the fourth match of the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification Group C on Tuesday (June 20) in Łódź, Poland.
South Korea looked to make a splash by taking the first set against the U.S., which is seeking its second straight Olympic title, but fell short in the third set.
After losing to Italy (0-3), Poland (1-3), and Germany (2-3), South Korea dropped to fifth place among the eight teams in Pool C with a 4-1 record.
With the loss, South Korea effectively missed out on qualifying for the Paris Olympics.
Even if the team picks up a maximum of nine points in its remaining three games, it will not finish above first-place Italy (4W-12L) and second-place USA (4W-12L).
A total of 12 teams will compete in Paris, with the top two finishers in Pools A through C punching their ticket to the Olympics.
Of the remaining six spots, one will go to host France and the other five will be determined by the FIVB world rankings.
It is highly unlikely that South Korea, ranked 36th in the world, will qualify for the Olympics based on their ranking.
South Korea has qualified for three consecutive Olympics – London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016, and Tokyo 2020 – and reached the quarterfinals twice, but missed out on a spot in Paris.
But there is a silver lining. After a lethargic performance in each of its recent international tournaments, South Korea has shown glimpses of hope at the tournament, playing evenly against powerhouses like Poland, Germany and the United States.
The team will look for its first win of the tournament against Colombia at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 22.
South Korea took a close first set. At 19-19, Lee Han-bi (Pepper Savings Bank) attacked for a point, and then Pyo Seung-joo (IBK) scored back-to-back points to make it 22-19.
After losing a point, the Korean National Team extended their lead to three points with a kill from Lee Han-bi, and then Pyo Seung-joo scored a celestial kill at the end of the rally. Park Eun-jin (Jung Kwan-jang) then finished it off to win the first set.
Pyo Seung-joo had a strong first set, scoring seven points.
However, Korea was unable to overcome the power differential in the second set.
After regrouping, the USA unleashed an onslaught with their main gun, Thompson Jordan, and Korea lost the firepower battle and lost the initiative.
The third set was evenly matched until the midway point, but the back line collapsed and the fourth set was easily won. 스포츠토토