The back four fought like stags, locking horns with the dangerous German front pair of Oliver Neuville and Miroslav Klose, who shares the lead for the golden boot.
So much for a height advantage.
In Choi Jin-Cheul, Korea had a defender who towered above even Klose, and the rest of the back four coped tirelessly with the predictable aerial assault.
Oliver Bierhoff's introduction as a replacement for Klose was a tribute to that fact.
But Germany's possession was wearing.
The 'boo breaks' in between the screams got progressively longer, a sure indication of the Germans' growing stranglehold on the game.
And the loss of Choi because of injury was crucial.
Sixteen minutes from time, Neuville's low cross found its way into a Choi-shaped hole in the defence and Michael Ballack was allowed two attempts to stroke home the winner.
It was a bitter-sweet moment for the midfielder, whose booking two minutes earlier means he will miss the final through suspension.
For Korean fans there is a silver lining in the cloud of defeat.
Remaining at home for Saturday's third-place play-off is the perfect excuse for another peninsular party.
For Germany, the lining could be pure gold.
And how ironic it would be if this tournament of shocks produced a final between the two most successful teams in World Cup history.
Over to you, Brazil.