Tuesday, March 21, 2023

WC: S Korea, Japan qualify for last 16; Uruguay, Germany eliminated

South Korea scored an added time goal to beat already-qualified Portugal 2-1 at the World Cup in a comeback win that sent the Asian side into the last 16 ahead of Uruguay on the number of goals scored.
With the clock ticking down on South Korea’s time in the tournament, striker Son Heung-min ran free after a Portugal corner in added time and slipped a pass to Hwang Hee-chan who fired past Diogo Costa to spark wild celebrations
After an early opener by Ricardo Horta for Portugal, Kim Young-gwon gave the Koreans hope in the 27th minute when a corner struck Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo on the back and fell kindly for the defender to sweep the ball home. The last-gasp victory for South Korea catapulted them from fourth to second place in Group H ahead of Uruguay, who beat Ghana 2-0 in the group’s other game but failed to score enough goals to finish above the Asians. Portugal top the group.
Uruguay eliminated despite win against Ghana: Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice as Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 on Friday but it was not enough to keep them in the World Cup after South Korea pipped them to the Group H runners-up spot with victory over Portugal. Ghana, who famously missed an extra-time spot kick in a quarter-final against Uruguay in South Africa 12 years ago, spurned the chance to take the lead in the 21st minute when Andre Ayew’s tame penalty was easily saved by Sergio Rochet.
Uruguay made them pay with their first goals of the tournament as De Arrascaeta headed the ball over the line from close-range after a shot from Luis Suarez in the 26th minute and doubled their lead with a superb volley after Suarez was again involved in the buildup six minutes later.
The win lifted Uruguay to third place on four points, the same as South Korea, who squeaked through with more goals scored in the tournament after netting a late winner in a 2-1 victory over Portugal. Ghana finished bottom of the group with three points.
Japan shock Spain 2-1 to qualify for knockouts; Germany eliminated: Japan rallied from a goal down to shock European giants Spain 2-1 in the concluding match of Group E to emerge as group winners while booking a place in the knockouts of the FIFA World Cup. In material of losing the last league match of the group Spain qualified along with Japan to the knockout stage of the tournament.
In a night of chaotic pair of games, at the Khalifa International Stadium, Japan trailing by a 11th minute goal scored by Alvaro Morata to go into the half time break trailing 1-0.
The Samurai Blue however stormed back with full gusto in the second half to score two goals within a span of three minutes.
Coach Hajime Moriyasu drew level through Ritsu Doan in the 48th minute and went into the lead with a goal from Ao Tanaka three minutes later. Japan, who have set a target of qualifying for the last-eight stage of the tournament, had opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over four-time winners Germany but lost to Costa Rica. Spain on the other hand started with 7-0 drubbing of Costa Rica and followed it up with a one-all draw with Germany.
In the other match at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Germany defeat Costa Rica 4-2 in a six-goal thriller which was officiated by a first all-female on-field refereeing team at men’s World Cup. The winning effort fell short and was not enough as they finished with just four points from three matches the same as Spain but La Roja qualified on a better goal difference. Japan’s 2-1 win over Spain meant Japan and Spain were through, Japan finished with six points from two wins and loss.
Germany’s failure to advance for the second straight World Cup is a remarkable fall for a national team that won the event in 2014, finished third in 2010 and 2006 and was the runner-up in 2002.
On Thursday, both Group E and Group F had surprising group winners. Group E champion Japan will face Croatia in the round of 16 on Monday. Group F winner Morocco will face Spain on Tuesday.
The World Cup continues Friday, when the round of 16 will be set after the finales in Group G and Group H.
Saturday’s Round of 16
Netherlands vs USA

8:30 pm
Argentina vs Australia – 12:30 am (Sunday)

Japan’s Maya Yoshida and Daizen Maeda celebrate with teammates after the match as Japan qualify. (Reuters)
Ghana’s Seidu Alidu in action with Uruguay’s Giorgian de Arrascaeta. (Reuters)
Germany’s Thomas Muller and Antonio Rudiger look dejected after the match as Germany are eliminated. (Reuters)

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