South Korea into round of 16 after last-gasp winner against Portugal

South Korea produced an incredible stoppage-time winner against Portugal to clinch their place in the knockout rounds.

South Korea appeared to be out of the round of 16 on goals scored, but Hwang Hee-chan emerged in the first minute of injury time to bring his side through after Kim Young-gwon had levelled following Ricardo Horta’s opening.

Uruguay were eliminated from the group stages after defeating Ghana 2-0 in the other Group H game and looking to be likely to advance for much of the evening.

“We’re very happy, we deserved it for everything we did in the three games,” South Korea assistant coach Sergio Costa, standing in for suspended boss Paulo Bento, said. “We dedicate this victory to all the South Korean people who support us a lot.

“We’ll celebrate a little, rest and tonight we’ll see our likely opponent. Then, like all games, we’ll prepare it in the same way — knowing strengths, weaknesses, adjusting to our characteristics and preparing the game plan.”

Portugal gained an early lead in the fifth minute when Horta scored after fine work down the right side by Diogo Dalot – scoring on his big event debut.

South Korea had the ball in the net in the 17th minute, but Kim Jin-su was called offside when he converted from close range after Diogo Costa made a great save.

However, the underdogs equalized in the 27th minute when Kim guided a loose ball past Costa after a corner deflected off Cristiano Ronaldo.

And they won when Son Heung-min led a superb counter-attack from a Portugal corner, which Hwang skillfully completed.

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“Things didn’t go well and the responsibility is mine, obviously,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “In the second half the team had many ups and downs. In the first half, we didn’t let them counter-attack, but in the second, the ball circulated slower.

“It had already happened with Serbia [Portugal conceded a stoppage-time goal to them in World Cup qualifying which meant they dropped to the play-offs] and the players know perfectly well that it can’t happen, they [have been] more than warned [about] this. It cannot happen.”

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