Portugal sealed qualification to the round of 16 before today, but they needed a point to ensure it. Ghana sat on four points, while South Korea Korea had only one. It was the same for the South Americans.
The Uruguayans expected Portugal to beat or draw South Korea while they handled old foes to seek qualification, but it was not to be.
South Korea beat Portugal, and despite their win over Ghana, Uruguay failed to reach the knockout phase. Here’s how it all went down in Group H.
South Korea 2-1 Portugal
Portugal took the early command of the game, and within five minutes, they opened the scoring. Diogo Dalot steamed into the Korean box before cutting back for Ricardo Horta to fire home.
Fernando Santos changed his side, but they still had some cohesion. Meanwhile, South Korea tried to push men forward with qualification on the line.
Left-back Kim Jin-Su has arguably been Korea’s most impressive and consistent player, with two fine performances. He put the ball in the back of the net, but it did not count. Offside!
They got their equaliser on 27 when Kim Young-gwon received a failed Cristiano Ronaldo clearance header from a corner. He fired home to restore parity.
South Korea became more confident on the ball, but Dalot’s shot from range forced Kim Seung-gyu into a save. Vitinha tried to test the keeper, but it was easy.
Diogo Costa dealt with a Heung-min Son shot at the other end before Vitinha tested Seung-gyu again. Ronaldo headed the rebound wide. The first half ended South Korea 1-1 Portugal.
The Europeans were on the front foot, but Son nearly got a sniff on 61 before Antonio Silva blocked the shot. Jin-Su then found Son at the near post, but Joao Cancelo blocked his effort.
The Koreans struggled to create openings as time went on. Substitutions took the momentum out of the game, but Korea won it in the dying moments.
Son led a counter-attack, and Hwang Hee-chan finished to seal their qualification to the round of 16.
Ghana 0-2 Uruguay
Uruguay had not scored at the World Cup after two games, but they started well against Ghana. They created some openings but nothing clear-cut.
Ghana retorted in an attack that nearly produced a goal. In the 16th minute, Andre Ayew flicked Jordan Ayew’s shot and forced Sergio Rochet to save. The keeper had to be up to prevent Mohammed Kudus from scoring the follow-up.
Ghana received a gift when Rochet brought down the Ajax midfielder/attacker. The referee pointed to the spot. However, just like in 2010, Ghana failed to convert. Andre Ayew missed the penalty.
Moments later, Uruguay nearly took the lead when Darwin Nunez chipped Lawrence Ati-Zigi, but Mohammed Salisu got back and cleared it.
Giorgian de Arrascaeta opened the scoring after 26 minutes. He drove into the box and headed home Luis Suarez’s shot that was saved but looped invitingly. That is six goals in eight Uruguay starts for the playmaker.
Arrascaeta doubled the lead minutes later, finishing a lovely move involving Facundo Pellestri, Nunez, and Suarez.
Kudus came close to pulling one back, but his effort could only get a corner. Jose Gimenez came close to making it three when he headed Federico Valverde’s corner-kick over the bar.
Uruguay pressed for the goal they needed to secure a place in the last 16, but Ghana dug deep to deny the South American side.
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