Injury woes are hampering Korea's preparations for its crucial World Cup match against Portugal in Qatar on Friday.Kim Min-jae of Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli managed to play almost full time in Korea's second World Cup match against Ghana early this week, leaving the pitch in injury time.The defender was widely expected to miss the match due to an injured right calf suffered in Korea's World Cup opener against Uruguay last week, but went into the match less than fully recovered.Fans were relieved to see Kim maneuvering adeptly early on, only to see him visibly experiencing pain as the match progressed. He is likely to sit out the match against Portugal.
Another defender, Kim Jin-su of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, arrived in Qatar with a bad hamstring and has been focusing on rehab. Sixteen minutes into the second half of the match against Ghana he managed a pass that led to his teammate Cho Gue-sung scoring the equalizer. But concerns remain about how much more he will be able to endure.
With a lack of key defenders, a hard road lies ahead for Korea, who will have to play without head coach Paulo Bento, as he was shown a red card at the end of the match against Ghana after arguing with referee Anthony Taylor, who blew the final whistle right after Korea won a corner.In order to advance to the round of 16, Korea must beat Portugal. Even if it does, its fate will still depend on the outcome of a match between Ghana and Uruguay. Korea would be eliminated with a draw or loss against Portugal.