The football world has once again reacted with utter shock as South Korea defeated Portugal in their final group stage match to leapfrog Uruguay and advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup. Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice as Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0, but in the dying minutes of the other game, South Korea scored to leave talisman Luis Suarez in tears after the whistle.
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Uruguay were seeking a goal in the final minutes after news trickled through that Hwang Hee-chan scored after a stunning stoppage time counter attack against Portugal. However, their efforts fell short and Uruguay icon Suarez was seen in tears on the sideline as South Korea advanced as runners-up in the group.
After the match, SBS analyst Craig Foster summed up the drama following the last few days of action. “This is crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Foster said on Saturday morning.
“Going down to literally the last kick of so many games, this is just extraordinary drama. This World Cup, it’s just been absolutely mad.”
This World Cup has seen dramatic upsets, which have included Australia advancing over Denmark, Morocco over Belgium, Japan over Germany and now South Korea over Uruguay. The scenes were made even more dramatic as images showed South Korean players huddled around a phone as they watched the final moments of the other Group H match.
After watching Uruguay's extra time, where they needed one more goal, South Korean star Heung-min Song said: "That was the longest six minutes of my life".
south korea watching the uruguay match on their phones to see if they advance 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/wbtrL7s9kL
— the nintendo shamecube (@mattgcn) December 2, 2022
Surarez was in tears on the bench as the final whistle blew as many infuriated teammates surrounded the referee due to a couple of penalty shouts going against them.
"It is sadness and disappointment that we feel," said Suarez. "I was lucky enough to play my fourth World Cup, and I was thinking about my four-year-old son, who is leaving with the image of sadness. It's difficult, but it's up to me to face the situation."
Fans reacted around the world to the unbelievable drama of the World Cup.
Broadcast from BBC sport showed football greats Gary Lineker, Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and coach Mauricio Pochettino reacting with amazement when South Korea scored.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) December 2, 2022
The greatest group stage in World Cup history comes to an end. At present It won’t be repeated at the next World Cup as the current plan is not to have simultaneous final group games. 16 groups of 3 in 2026. 🤔
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) December 2, 2022
TENSE MOMENTS. After defeating Portugal 2-1 in a massive win, the South Korea team had to wait 10 minutes for Uruguay’s game to finish, to see if they would advance. This video of the squad watching on-field captures the joy of them finding out their fate. pic.twitter.com/uteNi8TNy0
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) December 2, 2022
Didn’t see today because was at Uruguay-Ghana game but thought Korea played the best football in this group (of the games I could see…and they lost that day 🤷♂️)
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) December 2, 2022
South Korea had to wait 10 MINUTES to find out whether they had made it through the last 16 of the World Cup.
Son Heung-min gathered his teammates to deliver a rousing speech to keep their belief alive 💪 pic.twitter.com/QCtJe19WKL
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) December 2, 2022
Japan knocking out Germany.
Morocco knocking out Belgium.
South Korea knocking out Uruguay.
Australia knocking out Denmark.
The 2022 World Cup group stage is the best ever. pic.twitter.com/HpzsZih9o6
— FootballFunnys (@FootballFunnnys) December 2, 2022
Uruguay in tears as they exit World Cup
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.
Uruguay battled desperately for the decisive goals, with Ferderico Valverde going close with a volley from outside the area and Maxi Gomez having his shot saved by keeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi two minutes from time.
Uruguay went on the attack right from the start of the match and finally broke the deadlock on 26 minutes when Darwin Nunez's cross from the right was missed by two defenders and found Suarez, whose low shot was spilled by the keeper for De Arrascaeta to head home from close range.
Uruguay struck again six minutes later, when Nunez flicked the ball on to Suarez, who knocked it on to De Arrascaeta to volley under the keeper.
The goals came just minutes after Ghana were awarded a penalty on in their first attack of the match, after a shot from Jordon Ayew was spilled by keeper Sergio Rochet, who pulled down by onrushing Mohammed Kudus.
Andre Ayew fired tamely at Rochet, giving Uruguay the impetus to double down on their attack.
Uruguay lacked the same kind of punch when they returned from the interval, however, and they failed to further break down Ghana and boost their goal difference, allowing South Korea to advance.
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