AL RAYYAN, Qatar (Reuters) -South Korea scored a last-gasp goal to beat already-qualified Portugal 2-1 at the World Cup in a comeback win that sent the Asian side into the last 16 ahead of Uruguay on goals scored.
With the clock ticking down on South Korea’s time in the tournament, striker Son Heung-min ran free after a Portugal corner in added time and slipped a pass to Hwang Hee-chan who fired past Diogo Costa to spark wild celebrations.
After the whistle blew, the anxious Korean players gathered in a circle awaiting the end of the Uruguay-Ghana game and exploded with joy when the news arrived that the South Americans had only won 2-0 in their Group H clash.
South Korea had to beat Portugal at the Education City Stadium to stand a chance of going through to the last 16 and their win catapulted them from fourth to second place by virtue of having scored four goals in the tournament to Uruguay’s two.
Portugal finished top despite the loss and should avoid facing likely Group G winners Brazil in the knockout stage.
Stunned Uruguay beat Ghana but exit World Cup on goals scored
Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice in six minutes to give Uruguay a 2-0 win over Ghana on Friday but it was not enough to prevent them crashing out of the World Cup on goals scored.
It was the first time in two decades that la Celeste have failed to reach the knockout stage.
Unable to score in their first two matches, Uruguay needed a win to advance from Group H and for already-qualified Portugal to avoid defeat by South Korea. But the Asian side’s shock 2-1 win – the second goal coming in stoppage time – ensured they went through by virtue of having scored two more goals.
With South Korea tied with Portugal late in their match and Uruguay two goals up, the South American side had one foot in the last 16 before the pendulum swung in the direction of South Korea, who ahead in the table on goals scored.
Uruguay battled desperately for the decisive goals, with Ferderico Valverde going close with a volley from outside the area and Maxi Gomex having his shot saved by keeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi two minutes from time.