SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's dream is over. Germany's is just beginning.
Michael Ballack scored on the rebound of his own shot in the 75th minute to give Germany a 1-0 victory Tuesday night and end South Korea's hopes of becoming the first Asian team in a World Cup final.
The three-time champions, in the final for a record seventh time and first since 1990, will play Brazil or Turkey on Sunday night in Yokohama, Japan.
"It's a great achievement. I'm happy for the team, for the entire nation," defender Christoph Metzelder said. "It just has to sink in first."
The Germans have never trailed in the tournament. They weren't about to give up that streak against the surprising South Koreans.
Ballack, who also scored in last week's 1-0 quarterfinal victory over the United States, quieted the cheering, singing crowd of about 65,000 with his goal. The red-clad "Red Devils" fans then resumed singing for the home team, hoping they could will South Korea to yet another upset of a European power.
South Korea's best chance was Lee Chun-soo's curling 15-yard shot in the eighth minute, which was batted away by goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who dived to his right, fully extended.
The crowd groaned when South Korea's last best chance, Park Ji-sung's shot in second-half injury time, went well high and wide right from the top of the penalty area.
The Germans were just too experienced and well organized for South Korea, controlling the ball and doing most of the attacking.
"We did our best. We are disappointed about the result, but we have no regrets," captain Hong Myung-bo said.
"We have come this far due to the fervent support of our fans. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts and we promise to do our best to the very end."
South Korea, the first Asian team in the World Cup semifinals, will play in the third-place game on Saturday in Daeju. Brazil plays Turkey in the other semifinal on Wednesday in Saitama, Japan.
Four minutes before he scored, Ballack got his second yellow card of the knockout stage, for a foul on Lee Chun-Soo. As a result, he will be suspended for the final.
His goal came after Oliver Neuville brought the ball up the right side, went nearly to the end of the field and then bent the ball back to the center.
Ballack, unmarked, charged toward the goal and his initial low, right-footed shot off the pass was stopped by goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae. The rebound went right to Ballack, who volleyed in a left-footed shot from about 8 yards.
"My first thoughts are bitterness," Ballack said. "My dream was to play in the final."
Coach Rudi Voeller said: "In the back of his head, he knew that he already had one yellow card and he sacrificed himself, placed himself not only at the service of his team, but the whole of Germany."
Germany has what was regarded as one of its weaker teams at this World Cup and advanced from the first round with victories over Saudi Arabia and Cameroon, and a tie against Ireland. The Germans then beat Paraguay in the second round and the United States in the quarterfinals.
They won the title as West Germany in 1954, 1974 and 1990, and will try to match Brazil as the only four-time champions.
Kahn, one world's top goalkeepers, had another stellar game for his fourth straight shutout and fifth in six games as Germany outscored opponents 14-1. So did midfielder Carsten Ramelow, whose runs upfield were among the few exciting moments for a German team.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.