South Korea got a late goal from Hwang Hee-Chan to beat Portugal, 2-1, and knock out Uruguay from the 2022 World Cup.
The Uruguayans beat Ghana, 2-0, in their Group H game and needed to have a better goal difference than the South Koreans to advance if the two teams ended up tied on points. But a 2-0 loss to Portugal proved to be the difference as Uruguay spent the final 15 minutes of the game searching for a third goal that never came.
Here’s how Hwang scored the winner after a fantastic run and pass by Tottenham star Heung-Min Son.
The goal tied Uruguay and South Korea at four points each and also on goal difference. South Korea advanced to the knockout rounds by scoring four goals in the group stage. Uruguay failed to score in either of its first two games.
Uruguay is one of the more successful countries in World Cup history. It has made the knockout rounds in each of the last three World Cups and won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950. Its players were furious with the officials after the match and surrounded them in anger. One of Uruguay’s backup goalkeepers even gave a one-arm push to a linesman in the back after he berated him.
The Uruguay-Ghana game ended after South Korea’s win because it had six more minutes of added time in the first half. That meant Uruguay was well aware of its need for a goal after Hwang scored and the television feed kept cutting to shots of an incredibly nervous and increasingly distraught Luis Suarez on the bench.
Suarez started the game for Uruguay in what’s likely his last game at a World Cup. He was subbed off for Edinson Cavani in the second half as Portugal was tied with South Korea. A tie in that game and a Uruguay win meant that Uruguay was through to the next round.
Ghana also could have advanced to the next round if it beat Uruguay no matter what happened in the other game. But Ghana simply couldn’t find the back of the net. It got a penalty in the first half after a tackle in the box, But Andre Ayew’s attempt was incredibly poor and easily saved.
While Ghana is out of the World Cup, its fans can take a little consolation in the fact that Uruguay is out too. The game was a rematch of their infamous quarterfinal in 2010 when Suarez committed an intentional handball to prevent a likely winner by Ghana in extra time. Asamoah Gyan’s ensuing penalty kick hit the crossbar and Uruguay went on to win in penalties.
Suarez has been a reviled figure in Ghana ever since that game.
Portugal, meanwhile, didn’t need to worry about beating South Korea to win the group. Ghana was the only team that had a chance of leapfrogging it into first place in the group. Portugal will play the second-place team from Group G — likely Serbia or Switzerland — in the Round of 16 while South Korea will probably play Brazil.