Vancouver, June 18: South Korea joined defending champions Japan and China in the last 16 of the Women's World Cup as Asian minnows Thailand failed to make the cut on the final day of group matches.
The Koreans snatched a dramatic 2-1 win over Spain in their final Group E game in Ottawa on Wednesday, to make it through to the knockout round for the first time, where they play third-ranked France in Montreal next Sunday.
Three of Asia's four teams -- Japan, China and South Korea -- are now through to the last 16 of the tournament for the first time.
Fourth-ranked Japan topped Group C with maximum nine points and play the Netherlands in Vancouver on Tuesday as 1999-runners-up China, second in Group A, take on Cameroon in Edmonton on Saturday.
But Thailand, ranked 29th, failed to advance as one of the four best third-placed finishers despite three points for beating the Ivory Coast 3-2 in Group B.
The Koreans had started the final day bottom of the table with one point and needed a win after a 2-0 loss to Brazil was followed by a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica.
Substitute Kim Soo-Yun sealed South Korea's victory after 78 minutes in a drama-filled match against Spain in which skipper Cho So-Hyun equalised on 53 minutes following Veronica Boquete's first half goal.
"It's an unforgettable day for me and my players who never gave up," said coach Yoon Deok-yeo. AFP