Heung-min Son 1

Son Heung-min Steps Up as South Korea’s Late Win Sends Uruguay Out

South Korea grabbed a 91st-minute winner against Portugal to qualify as runners-up from Group H in the most dramatic circumstances.

As reported by ESPN, substitute Hwang Hee-chan got the crucial goal to send South Korea through on goals scored, despite Uruguay’s 2-0 win over Ghana in the group’s other game (both South Korea and Uruguay ended level on four points and zero goal difference, but South Korea had four goals scored to Uruguay’s two.)

Portugal had taken an early lead through Ricardo Horta before Kim Young-gwon’s equaliser. It set up a frantic second half, with South Korea knowing they needed just one more goal to seal progress, but it looked like they would fall just short before Son Heung-min — who suffered multiple fractures around his left eye less than a month ago and was forced to wear a mask — broke free on the counter-attack to set up Hwang with minutes remaining. And with four of South Korea’s last seven goals at the World Cup scored in the 90th minute or later, you can’t say it wasn’t on the cards.

Watching the final minutes of Uruguay’s game in a huddle on the pitch following the full-time whistle, South Korea could finally celebrate a famous win as they cemented the Asian confederation’s third country in the round of 16 — the most ever in a single World Cup.

Son steps Up When it Matters

Son Heung-min has sometimes been accused of trying to do too much himself when he plays for South Korea but when they needed him most, the Tottenham forward stepped up.

With the fourth official holding up the board to show six minutes of stoppage time, Son raced the length of the pitch after a Portugal corner to set up substitute Hwang. The finish from the Wolves forward was as composed as you could get in the circumstances but it was made by the quality of Son, first delaying and drawing Portugal’s defenders towards him before delicately rolling a pass through the legs of Diogo Dalot to give his teammate the perfect opportunity to score.

For almost 90 minutes, South Korea were going out — a result that would have possibly cost Portuguese coach Paulo Bento his job — but instead they are going through on goals scored and preparing for just the third World Cup knockout tie in their history, probably against Brazil.

South Korea were thumped 5-1 by Brazil in June, which set off alarm bells ahead of the World Cup, but after ending the group stage on such a high they will believe anything can happen, especially when they have a player like Son capable of such moments of magic.

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