South Korea through to last 16 of Qatar World Cup

DOHA, 3 Dec 2022:

South Korea qualified for the Round of 16 after beating Portugal 2-1, thanks to a dramatic 91st minute winner from Hwang Hee-chan at Education City Stadium yesterday.

Hwang converted after Son Heung-min had run the length of the pitch and played him through with a delicate pass – to send the Korean players and fans into raptures.

Portugal, who rested many of their star players having already secured their spot in the next round, had taken an early lead when Ricardo Horta tapped in from Diogo Dalot’s run and pass.

South Korea went into the match knowing only a victory would do, but they still needed help from Uruguay, who would have gone through had they scored one more goal in their match against Ghana, which ended 2-0 at Al Janoub stadium.

Uruguay and Ghana both crashed out of the World Cup – with the former agonisingly eliminated on goal difference after South Korea scored the winning goal against Portugal in the group’s other match. Uruguay finished the group in third place with 4 points, while Ghana came last.

The game ended in chaotic fashion, with Uruguay having several shots saved before desperately appealing to the referee Daniel Siebert for a penalty after Edinson Cavani went down in the box.

The German referee also refused to overturn an earlier decision not to award a penalty after the VAR recommended he review a challenge on Darwin Nunez.

Luis Suarez, who famously used his hands to block a certain goal when the two teams met at the 2010 World Cup and who was surely playing his final match on this stage, was reduced to tears by the final whistle, while many of his teammates angrily confronted Siebert.

Switzerland are through to the knockout stage of the World Cup for the third consecutive time after nipping Serbia 3-2.

The Swiss ended the group stage level on points with top-ranked Brazil, but the Canarinha won Group G on goal difference and will face South Korea in the round of 16.

Next up for Switzerland at World Cup 2022 are Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

With just a point from their first two games, the Serbs started the match at Doha’s Stadium 974 knowing the nothing less than victory would do, while Switzerland needed only a draw to advance.

As the minutes passed, an already rough game grew rougher and the teams combined for 31 fouls and 11 yellow cards, the most in a World Cup game since the 2010 final between Spain and the Netherlands, which saw 12 yellow cards.

Cameroon became the first African side to defeat Brazil in a World Cup match, but their 1-0 Group G victory was still not enough to send them into the tournament’s knockout stage.

The winning goal at Lusail Iconic Stadium, in Qatar’s second-biggest city, came on a header by Vincent Aboubakar in second-half stoppage time.

The match was a relatively meaningless one for Brazil, who had already booked their spot in the last 16 and had all but locked up first place in their round-robin group as well prior to kickoff.

Head coach Tite, careful to avoid injury to his biggest stars, made nine changes to the squad that defeated Switzerland on Monday.

Aboubakar was in on much of the action down the stretch, starting with a take-down of Martinelli in space in the 79th minute that may have saved a goal but also earned him a yellow card.

Then, near the beginning of nine minutes of stoppage time, the Al Nassr forward headed home a sublime cross by Jerome Ngom Mbekeli that left Ederson frozen.

Aboubakar proceeded to celebrate his goal to the hilt, although his decision to take off his shirt cost him a second yellow card and left Cameroon with 10 men with seven minutes still to play.

Brazil had one last clear opportunity on a shot by Bruno Guimaraes from close range, but the Newcastle United midfielder sent the ball over the bar.