How can someone not like football? Once again, this World Cup has provided a lot of entertainment. After the scenes yesterday where Germany were knocked out, Group H tried to top the drama.
Group H Drama
Portugal was guaranteed a place in the Round of 16. At various times during the simultaneous matches, the remaining qualifying spot was taken by each of the other three teams.
A long ball on the right wing to Diogo Dalot led to a fine finish from Ricardo Horta that put the Portuguese ahead after five minutes. After Horta’s goal, Portugal and Ghana were the teams that advanced.
Ghana earned a penalty, but . Ayew missed the chance to avenge the missed penalty against Uruguay in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup. After a good start, the missed penalty made Ghana’s game summary, a missed chance to reach the knockout stage.
Giorgio de Arrascaeta scored five minutes later to give Uruguay the lead after 26 minutes. Shortly after Uruguay took the lead, Kim Young-Gwon pounced on a mistake by Cristiano Ronaldo to equalize for South Korea. Just after half an hour, the Arrascaeta scored a second with a lush volley. At that point, Portugal and Uruguay were the teams that went through.
Group H was well balanced for the next hour of play. Then, in the first minute of stoppage time, Son Heung-Min played a centimeter-perfect ball through three Portuguese defenders to put Hwang Hee-Chan on target. The clever finish broke Uruguayan hearts and sent South Korean fans into ecstasy.
Portugal managed to move up, but did not help Uruguay to get out of the World Cup group stage. Instead, South Korea punched its ticket to likely fight Brazil.
Portugal will continue, but eyes are on more drama at the World Cup
Portugal used more of the team against South Korea. The side rested key starting players. That’s how Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, João Félix and Rúben Dias all sat. The team played well for most of the game and looked good. There were some nice game passages in it.
Fans can remember this game for years, especially as South Korea found a winner in overtime. However, Portugal have shown something they haven’t necessarily had in the previous World Cup, strength in depth. People are starting to wonder if this might be Portugal’s year.
I was excited to see Ricardo Horta make an impact. I told him to go to Portugal for the tournament based on his stats from last year. Grabbing his target will give him a lot of confidence, despite the loss.
When Horta was joined by Rafael Leão of Milan and André Silva of RB Leipzig, I thought this would be a moment when Portugal was let loose. Unfortunately, the trio was pretty forgettable. I do think they should get another chance to lead the attack, but next time with Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva also on the field to provide service.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Xinhua
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