Korean players react after Brazil scores its third goal of their knockout round match on Dec. 5 (local time) at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.
Korea’s players looked tired in front of that great yellow wave that inspires admiration and fear. Having had a mere three days of rest between each of their three matches thus far, the players put up their best fight even as they got hit hard, playing a head-to-head match. While they didn’t manage to beat the best in the world, Korea’s team did notch a final blow with their undefeated spirit.
However, the latest journey of the Korean national football team, which rewrote the history of Korean football as they waged a struggle every game, came to an end against Brazil.
The Paulo Bento-led Korean squad went down 4-1 in its 16-team knockout round match against Brazil at Doha’s Stadium 974 on Tuesday (Korean time). That brought their final record at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar to one win, one draw and two losses, including group play.
The squad didn’t get pushed around by the tournament’s top teams, but getting into the quarterfinals proved too much. Brazil scored four goals in the match’s first 36 minutes, breaking the Korean team’s will.
Six minutes in, Raphinha (Barcelona) slipped a tackle by Hwang In-beom (Olympiacos) to completely disarm the right side, after which he sent a cross to Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid), who calmly put it into the net. Four minutes later, Jung Woo-young (Al Sadd) fouled Richarlison (Tottenham), giving a penalty kick to Brazil. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain) stepped up and took it, giving his side an additional goal. It was Neymar’s seventh World Cup goal, and his first of this tournament.
Brazil’s onslaught continued. In the 29th minute, Richarlison notched Brazil's third goal after he stole the ball, kept possession through some acrobatic footwork and froze Korea's five defenders with triangle passes with Lucas Paqueta (West Ham United) and Thiago Silva (Chelsea). Then in the 36th minute, while on the counterattack, Neymar opened things up for Vinícius, who sent the ball high from the left to Paqueta, who connected on the volley for Brazil's fourth goal.
Brazil’s ace Neymar celebrates after making a goal off a penalty kick during the Korea-Brazil match in the 16-team knockout round during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Dec. 5. (Reuters/Yonhap)
Brazil's players danced every time they scored, and even Brazilian coach Tite celebrated when Richarlison scored his squad's third goal. With Alex Sandro (Juventus) out on injury, Real Madrid center back Éder Militão stepped in as left side defender, and stepped up big. Even with Neymar and Paqueta as attacking midfielders, Casimiro locked things down alone on the third line, shutting down Korea's attack lanes.
Korea was in full-attack mode, with Bento playing Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton), the hero of the win against Portugal, and Kim Min-jae (Napoli), who was battling injuries. But it wasn't enough. Hwang had a great chance with a long-range blast in the 16th minute of the first half, and Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) had another great chance with a one-on-one opportunity one minute into the first half, but both were stopped by goalkeeper Alisson (Liverpool). Shots by Hwang and Son in the 22nd minute of the second half were stopped, too.
Above all else, the key players appeared fatigued after waging a desperate battle against Portugal three days earlier. Their mobility — which contributes to pressure and defense — was thoroughly down in the first half.
At the start of the second half, Jung Woo-young was replaced, while Hwang In-beom — who appeared most tired — was replaced in the 19th minute of the second half by Paik Seung-ho (Jeonbuk). On the other hand, Brazil was flying the entire match, its main 10 having rested a week thanks to its third match rotation.
The players gave it one final go. Goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu (Al-Shabab) made several good saves in the second half, and in the 28th minute, Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) came in to contribute. In the 31st minute, a free kick by Lee was cleared, but Paik Seung-ho picked up the bounce with a left-footed volley. The ball was slightly redirected by the Brazilian defenders and ended in the back of Brazil's goal. It was an 89 km per hour blast from outside the penalty arc.
Korea gave up 18 shots, while taking 8 of their own. As for on-target shots, it was 9-6.
Paik Seung-ho takes a midrange shot during the Korea-Brazil match in the 16-team knockout round during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Dec. 5. (Reuters/Yonhap)
At Stadium 974, Qatar
Brazil 4 4-0
Korea 1 0-1
First half — 1, Brazil, Vinícius, 7th minute. 2, Brazil, Neymar (penalty kick), 13th minute. 3, Brazil, Richarlison, 29th minute. 4, Brazil, Paqueta, 36th minute.
Second half — 5, Korea, Paik Seung-ho, 31st minute.
By Park Kang-su, staff reporter
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