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Date: 7/14/2018
 

Republic of Korea won the 2018 IHF Women’s Junior (U20) World Championship bronze medal after a great comeback against Russia, which saw them turn a four-goal deficit in the 40th minute into a two-goal victory. It is the first time this Korea squad have beaten Russia, in what is the third World Championship match between the players in this age group.  

 

Yesterday we were disappointed because we missed a lot of clear chances, but all the players said ‘We can do it. We will do our best in today’s match.’ So we just expected our best effort,” said Korea centre back and MVP of the World Championship Hyesoo Song after the game.

 

Bronze-medal match: Russia vs Republic of Korea 27:29 (13:10)

 

The history between the Russia and Korea teams is already long, though they are only in the Junior category. These same squads met in the 2016 Youth World Championship semi-final, and they were drawn into the same preliminary round group at Hungary 2018. On both occasions, Russia were the victors. In the semi-final in 2016 they won 27:23, and in the Group B clash in Round 5 at Hungary 2018, Russia took a decisive win at 27:15.

 

But in the bronze-medal match, Korea finally found the way to beat Russia, and it earned them a medal.

 

They say it is the hardest match in handball – recovering from a semi-final loss to contest the bronze medal with such a short amount of time in between. At the beginning, the teams were a little below the level of determination they had shown in their respective semi-finals, but as the clock ticked on and the game turned into a thrilling, close battle, the teams showed more and more motivation – particularly Korea.

 

Russia took the lead early on, holding a steady advantage of one to three goals throughout the first half. The European side took a three-goal lead into the break, before the Asian champions came fighting back. All three of Korea’s goalkeepers took their turn between the posts and it was a great performance from Jinhui Jeong that helped turn the tide.

 

Korea’s 6-0 defence worked perfectly in the second half, helping them turn a four-goal deficit, 15:19 in the 40th, into a 24:21 advantage when Jinmi Shin scored a penalty with nine minutes remaining. But Russia were not done, and they reduced the gap to come within one goal with less than a minute on the clock. Korea had the final say however, with Hungary 2018 MVP Song scoring a penalty – her 11th goal at 100% – to secure the win.

 

“I didn’t expect that I would be the Most Valuable Player, but this is not only for me, because all the players helped each other,” said Song about her individual award after the match. “I really want to attribute this award to the other players.”

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