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(Olympics) Fencing team rallies for bronze, football team sent home after humiliating loss

All News 23:27 July 31, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

TOKYO, July 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's lone medal on Saturday at the Tokyo Olympics came from the women's sabre team fencing competition.

But the fencers' dramatic rally over Italy was largely overshadowed by an embarrassing 6-3 loss by the men's football team to Mexico in the quarterfinals.

South Korean fencers Choi Soo-yeon, Kim Ji-yeon, Seo Ji-yeon and Yoon Ji-su (L to R) pose with their bronze medals from the women's sabre team fencing event at the Tokyo Olympics at Makuhari Messe Hall B in Chiba, Japan, on July 31, 2021. (Yonhap)

The baseball team, meanwhile, lost to the United States 4-2 to slip to second place in its group.

The women's volleyball team salvaged a heartening victory late at night, beating Japan in five sets to book a ticket to the quarterfinals.

The women's sabre team of Kim Ji-yeon, Seo Ji-yeon and Yoon Ji-su rallied from a 25-15 deficit to beat Italy 45-42 for the bronze, the first medal won by South Korea in the event.

South Korea competed in four fencing team events at these Olympic Games and came away with a medal in all of them: a gold by the men's sabre team, a silver by the women's epee team, and two bronze medals by the women's sabre and the men's epee team.

South Korean players Lee Dong-gyeong, Lee Kang-in and Kim Jin-ya (L to R) leave the field at International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan, after losing to Mexico in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympic men's football tournament on July 31, 2021. (Yonhap)

For fans cheering from back home, the bronze medal segued into an evening packed with key games for three of the country's most popular sports. South Korea took on Mexico in the men's football quarterfinals. There was also the second preliminary baseball game for South Korea, with the top spot in Group B at stake. In volleyball, the rivalry match between South Korea and Japan was looming in Tokyo.

Whatever excitement that had been built up fizzled quickly. South Korea got badly outclassed by Mexico in allowing three goals in each half. In baseball, South Korea struck out 14 times and gave up two home runs, raising the total number of long balls allowed to five after just two games.

In volleyball, at least, the 14th-ranked South Korea pulled off a 3-2 (25-29, 19-25, 25-22, 15-25, 16-14) victory over No. 5 Japan at Ariake Arena.

Thanks to its third straight win, South Korea moved to third place among six teams in Pool A. Regardless of the result against Serbia in the final preliminary match on Monday, South Korea will finish no lower than fourth.

Captain Kim Yeon-koung paced the attack with 30 points.

South Korean players celebrate their victory over Japan in their Pool A match of the Tokyo Olympic women's volleyball tournament at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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