South Korea knocked holders Germany out of the World Cup after late goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min. The Asian’s will now hopefully avoid the traditional pelting with sweets that is custom to failed Korean sports teams.
I wasn’t even going to do a match report on this game because of South Korea’s poor showing in the first two games and subsequently early exit. But how could I not after the biggest upset of this World Cup so far!
In terms of the team, the big news was the omission Ki Sung-yeung, the man who holds everything together in midfield. Talking of the midfield, the Germans dominated it, having three-quarters of possession in the first half.
But then again, it didn’t really matter, as the Taegeuk Warriors had the better chances in the opening 45. Manuel Neuer dropped Jung Seung-hyun’s free-kick but recovered to palm the ball away before the Son could get to it.
Then Lee Yong put in an actual cross for once, and the ball eventually made it’s way to the aforementioned Son who lashed it high and wide.
Son was again involved in a potential penalty incident after getting his legs in a tangle with Matts Hummels. It wasn’t given but it might’ve been had VAR been used. Anyway there’s more about VAR later.
Germany just looked off the pace. Passes from the likes of Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos, world class players, were going astray. Timo Werner had a poor first half and even when he got the ball in dangerous areas Korea didn’t let him get a clean shot off.
With Sweden taking a lead against Mexico, Germany started to push forward even more knowing only a win would send them into the knockout stages. Cho Hyun-woo made an excellent save diving to his right to deny Leon Goretzka, and the 2014 champions wasted headed chances through Mario Gomez and Hummels.
It was all getting a bit last ditch, and South Korea were always a threat too, looking dangerous on the counter. In stoppage time, Son swung in a low corner, it got stuck between some legs before the ball was poked by Kroos into the path of Kim. The Guangzhou Evergrande defender found the roof of the net via the toe of Neuer.
And despite the linesman’s flag, VAR showed that the ‘assist’ from Kroos. 1 bloody nil!
Neuer then went outfield, and in a David James versus Fulham type situation, lost the ball trying to dribble past his man. That man was Ju Se-jong who punted the ball a full eighty yards to Son who had an open goal; “And here’s Son to wrap it up. Son Heung-min! South Korean euphoria!”
It’s a nice way to finish in Russia for South Korea. After all the negativity surrounding the defeat to Mexico, the video of Son crying in the dressing room and the criticism surrounding the final squad (Lee Chung-yong and Ji Dong-won should’ve been picked in my opinion), things finished as well as they could’ve done for the Taegeuk Warriors. You’d like to think that South Korean fans will be rooting for Japan tomorrow who have an excellent chance of progressing in Group H.