South Korea continue to amaze with a 2-1 victory over Portugal.

South Korea continue to amaze with a 2-1 victory over Portugal.

In the most dramatic of circumstances, South Korea defeated Portugal and scored in the 91st minute to win the match and advance as runners-up from Group H. For top sports betting offers and the best venues for the World Cup stay tuned with CasinoDaddy! 

Despite Uruguay’s 2-0 victory over Ghana in the group’s other game, South Korea was still able to advance on goals scored thanks to a goal from substitute Hwang Hee-chan. South Korea and Uruguay both finished with four points and a goalless goal differential, but South Korea had four goals scored to Uruguay’s two.

Ricardo Horta gave Portugal the early advantage before Kim Young-Gwon scored Korea’s equalizer. South Korea knew they needed just one more goal to secure their victory, setting up a frantic second half. However, it appeared as though they would fall short until Son Heung-min, who had multiple fractures around his left eye less than a month earlier and was required to play with a mask, broke free on the counterattack to set up Hwang with minutes left. You can’t say it wasn’t inevitable given that four of South Korea’s last seven World Cup goals have been scored with 90 seconds remaining or more.

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The Asian confederation’s third country in the round of 16 — the most ever in a single World Cup — was confirmed when South Korea watched.

When he represents South Korea, Son Heung-min has occasionally been criticized for attempting to do too much on his own, but the Tottenham forward came up when they needed him the most.

After a corner from Portugal, Son sprinted the length of the field to set up replacement Hwang as the fourth official held up the board to indicate six minutes of stoppage time. The Wolves forward’s goal was as controlled as it could have been given the circumstances, but Son’s skill was essential in setting up his colleague for success by first holding off and dragging Portugal’s defenders to him before deftly passing through Diogo Dalot’s knees.

South Korea was almost 90 minutes away from elimination, which might have cost Portuguese coach Paulo Bento his job. Instead, they advanced on goals scored and are getting ready for just the third World Cup knockout match in their history, likely against Brazil.

South Korea’s crushing 5-1 loss to Brazil in June raised red flags before the World Cup, but after finishing the group stage on such a high note, they will now believe anything is possible, especially with a player like Son capable of such magical moments.

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Despite having a fantastic team, Portugal will be unexpected in the knockout stages. Although there have been some outstanding football plays, notably Bruno Fernandes’ two deft assists against Ghana in the opening game, there have also been some awful defensive plays.

Both of South Korea’s goals against Ghana were preventable, and the first came from a set piece that struck Cristiano Ronaldo in the back. After leaving themselves wide exposed at the back, they launched a counterattack from their corner in the second move.

Despite losing, Portugal still won Group H. They will be confident going into their matches against Switzerland, Serbia, or Cameroon in the next round, but there won’t be much excitement for a potential matchup with Spain in the quarterfinals if they advance.

Portugal has the individual talent to compete with any team in Qatar, but it remains to be seen if head coach Fernando Santos can put them together into a cohesive unit capable of winning the crucial matches in the knockout stages of major tournaments. They have a good chance of advancing to the semifinals or even further, but they also appear vulnerable to losing at any time.

Before the game even started, Portugal already knew they were out, so Santos had the chance to rest practically all of his starters, including Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, and Fernandes. Ronaldo was one of the few exceptions, starting despite Santos rating him as “50-50” in the lead-up due to a foot injury sustained against Uruguay.

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It’s possible to argue that Ronaldo needs games to regain his match sharpness before the knockout rounds following a stop-start season with Manchester United, but it was unusual to see him out there with what was practically Portugal’s second-string.

His most significant contribution during his 65 minutes on the field was an “assist” for South Korea’s goal, which came from a corner that hit him in the back and fell to Kim Young-Gwon, who steered the ball past Diogo Costa. Vitinha’s shot was deflected back into the penalty area, giving the 37-year-old a clear header opportunity, but he could only nod the ball wide. His 11 carries were the fewest in a start for Portugal since 2016 vs. France, when he only played 25 minutes.

Ronaldo received his customary standing ovation from the supporters who traveled to Education City just to see him, but there wasn’t much to cheer about while he was on the field. He was visibly frustrated when he saw his number come up to be substituted.

Author: Bobby Parker