Japan deservedly booked a place in the final after a dramatic win on penalties over South Korea...
South Korea took the lead in the 22nd minute from the penalty spot. A hopeful long punt forward from Jae-Won Hwang reaped dividends as Yasuyuki Konno leant into Ji Sung Park, bringing down the winger inside the box. It was the correct decision and allowed Ki Sung Yong to confidently tuck the penalty away, despite Eiji Kawashima going the right way, to his right.
Japan netted a deserved equaliser nine minutes before the break with a wonderfully worked move, which cut the South Korean defence to ribbons. Keisuke Honda threaded a perfectly weighted pass through to Yuto Nagatomo down the left. The rampaging full-back kept his head to square the ball for Ryoichi Maeda, who tucked the ball home with ease.
Controversy reigned five minutes into extra-time when Jae-Won Hwang was penalised for obstruction against Okazaki, who fell inside the box although initial contact was made just outside. Honda's penalty was mediocre at best and saved by the feet of Sung-Ryong Jung however, substitute Hajime Hosogai reacted the quickest and blasted the ball into the roof of the net. The goal stood despite encroachment into the area from a number of players.
South Korea refused to bow down and be beaten and they earned a penalty shoot-out in the most dramatic of circumstances. After an almighty goalmouth scramble, centre-half Jae Won Hwang put his left boot through the ball and blasted the ball into the corner of the net to spark incredible celebrations.
Alberto Zaccheroni's side created a whole host of chances in the first-half. In-form striker Shinji Okazaki went close with two early headers ; the first of which went wide with the second forcing a superb save from Sung-Ryung Jong who scrambled to his left and tipped the ball onto the post.
CSKA midfielder Honda was the beneficiary of some excellent build-up play from the Japanese on 25 minutes. He was picked out by Uchida only to disappointingly head straight at Sung-Ryung Jong. A minute before the break, Maeda found himself all alone but fired high over the crossbar, spurning yet another gilt-edged opportunity.
South Korea hit the side netting on the hour when Koo Jae-Cheol impossibly wormed his way past two defenders but he found the side-netting with the angle against him. Yong Rae Lee went very close on 71 minutes with a left-footed free-kick that curled inches past the static Kawashima's goal.
The substitution of Korean striker Dong Won Ji marked a more cautious approach by coach Kwang Rae Cho, which frustrated the Blue Samurai as extra time loomed. South Korea were understandably aggrieved after the questionable penalty but come the penalty shoot-out they had so dramatically earned, they failed to score a single effort from twelve yards.
Japan, who on the balance of play deserved to advance, will play the winners of the second semi-final between Uzbekistan and Australia in the final on Friday.