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  • Writer's pictureBruno Asoka

Hwang's late strike sends Korea to last 16

For the first time since 2010, South Korea advanced to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup thanks to a heroic comeback victory over Portugal in the 91st minute by Hwang Hee-chan.

Paulo Bento, the manager of South Korea, was dismissed from the game against Ghana after receiving a red card, so he would not be on the sidelines in this crucial contest for his team. In actuality, this matchup was a rematch of Bento's final matchup with the Seleçao, in which the Tigers of Asia eliminated Portugal from the 2002 World Cup.

With less than five minutes remaining, Santos' squad managed to score first, pulling ahead. Ricardo Horta scored his first goal at a major international competition after Diogo Dalot, who Pepe had set free on the right, dribbled into the penalty area and cut back for him.

South Korea had to retaliate, and after a corner, they had the ball in the net, but Kim Jin-su was determined to be offside. But from their subsequent corner, Kim Young-gwon found himself in an almost identical situation, stretching to beat Diogo Costa, and this time the goal stood. After South Korea tied the score, the pressure shifted to them, and goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu was crucial in stopping both Dalot and Vitinha

The Asian team was undoubtedly encouraged at halftime to learn that Ghana had fallen behind Uruguay by two goals, but they were unable to create clear chances in a sloppy opening to the second half. There were claims for a penalty when Son Heung-min thought his volley struck the hand of Joao Cancelo, Hwang In-beom was able to watch Costa parry a strong effort. Son Heung-min ran forward from a Portugal corner and slid the ball through to replacement Hwang Hee-chan, who made no mistake by blasting into the bottom corner as the game entered stoppage time and South Korean prospects looked more thin.

The Taegeuk Warriors, who won their final group game against European opponents for the second consecutive World Cup, advanced on goals scored as Uruguay failed to get a third goal against Ghana, and they will now face the Group G winners in the round of 16. Portugal's loss will bring back memories of the 2002 tournament, but they still qualified this time and will attempt to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.

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