Korea overcame Portugal and advanced to the World Cup’s round of sixteen.
On the evening of December 2, striker Hwang Hee-chan joined the field and scored the game-winning goal to assist Korea defeat Portugal 2-1 and advance to the 2022 World Cup group stage.
Son Heung-min sobbed after a World Cup game for the fourth time, but this time it was joyous tears. At Education City, the Korean skipper struggled throughout the entire 90 minutes of play, frequently tying up the ball and missing opportunities for counterattacks. However, Son made his mark at the start of the second half with a dribble and a pivotal pass that allowed striker Hwang Hee-chan to score 2-1.
When the score was tied at one goal each and Korea needed one more goal to progress, Portugal took the corner. Son was the only player who did not have to defend the corner after the Korean defense broke the ball out of the penalty area to his right. Son advanced the ball from his own end to a spot near the penalty area while only three of his teammates chased after him and eight Portuguese players jerked back to defend. Son had three opponents in front of him, but he still managed to pierce Diogo Dalot’s legs, clearing the way for Hee-chan to dive and hit the corner that brought down goalkeeper Diogo Costa.
As her teammates went after her, Hee-chan ripped off her shirt and ran in the direction of the audience. Because their next door was the most underestimated before the final series, many Korean fans were moved to tears by this unexpected outcome. One observer was sobbing openly while wearing a traditional hanbok, and another had his eyes closed.
Even when her colleagues screamed, Hee-chan remained composed. Due to an injury, he missed the first two games and entered the game in the third in the 66th minute. The Wolverhampton striker had no chance to score until the crucial second. Only Hee-chan was able to enter the Portuguese penalty area in that circumstance, and his efforts were successful.
The action continued after Argentine referee Facundo Tello blew the final whistle because Ghana and Uruguay were still playing. Son had to fight back his tears as he stood in the center of the field alongside his friends, using his phone to view the game at Al Janoub Stadium. The Korean player erupted in joy when Uruguay was unable to score one more goal before the final whistle. As they slipped on the field of Education City, they simultaneously ran to the stands for Korean supporters. We can finally breathe again, the Guardian correspondent said.
Excitedly starting the game, South Korea was quickly doused with cold water in the fifth minute. To help Portugal get on the board first, center back Pepe signaled for right back Diogo Dalot to escape the offside trap and enter the penalty area. Ricardo Horta then passed inside for the goal-scoring opportunity. Portuguese coach Paulo Bento, who coaches Korea, sat motionless in the stands. Due to his red card at the conclusion of Ghana’s victory in the second leg, he was prohibited from directing this game.
After 27 minutes of not particularly outstanding play, Korea managed to draw even from a corner. Although the Korean and Uruguayan players jumped up, they let the ball to pass from the left-hand corner of Lee Kang-in. Ronaldo turned to dodge the ball in the back, allowing it to strike his back and bounce back, assisting center-back Young-gwon in cushioning the close to score an equalizer.
According to whoscored statistics, Ronaldo made a mistake that resulted in the goal. The Portuguese skipper twice finished the attack but did not score. The best chance came to him in the 42nd minute when, after goalkeeper Seung-gyu had blocked Vitinha’s long shot, Ronaldo sprinted in to head the rebound, but it missed the post.
In the 65th minute, Ronaldo was replaced, and he was not happy. According to reporter Marca Juan Ignacio Garcia, who was there at Education City, Ronaldo was upset that his teammates did not pass him in the final moment before leaving the field. He even instructed Hwang In-beom, a midfielder, to “shut up.” After the break, the 37-year-old striker expressed his displeasure while sitting on the chair.
Portugal kept much of the ball for the rest of the game but didn’t create dangerous chances and paid the price. However, they still hold the top of Group H with six points, and will meet the second team of Group G in the round of 16 on December 6. And Korea is equal in points and goal difference with Uruguay, but the Asian representative continues by scoring more goals (4 vs 2). Son and his teammates will meet the top opponent of Group G, most likely Brazil, in the 1/8 round on December 5.