India's hopes of making it to the quarter-finals of the Junior Hockey World Cup were dashed after they were held 3-3 by Korea in their must-win third and final Group C match, at the Dhyan Chand stadium, in Delhi, on Tuesday.
A brilliant hat-trick by Seungju You saw the Koreans rally from 1-3 down and snatch a place in the last eight stage.
India and Korea finished their pool engagements with four points each, but it was not enough for the home team to qualify as they needed to win the match because of an inferior goal difference.
The draw was more than enough for the Koreans to progress as they had a better goal difference than India.
Korea finished second behind the Netherlands, who had three wins from as many games. The Dutch thrashed lowly Canada 7-0 in their last league encounter earlier in the day.
The Koreans rode on a brilliant hat-trick from star drag-flicker Seungju You, who scored in the 16th, 58th and 60th minute.
Trailing 1-3 at one stage, they showed great fighting spirit as Seungju converted two set pieces to turn the game around.
Gurjinder Singh (32nd and 35th minute) scored twice from penalty-corners to give India a 2-1 lead at half-time, before Mandeep Singh’s field goal in the 45th minute put the hosts 3-1 up.
However, Seungju's brilliance dashed whatever hopes the home team may have entertained.
India will now play Argentina in the 9-12 classification match on Thursday while Korea will take on Malaysia in the quarter-finals.
In the other quarterfinals, Belgium will face France, Australia take on holders Germany and Netherlands are up against New Zealand.
Earlier, riding on Maxime Plennevaux's double strike in the last 10 minutes, Belgium came from behind and held Pakistan 2-2 to qualify for quarter-finals, while Germany thrashed Egypt 6-0 to also make the cut.
Belgium, who garnered seven points by virtue of two victories and a draw from three games, emerged Pool A winners.
Niklas Bruns and Christopher Ruhr scored twice to enable Germany blank Egypt with a tennis-like score and end their Pool A engagements with six points from three outings.
Image: Germany's Christopher Ruhr
Photograph: Hockey India