Sports

Korea Faces Tough Fight in Must-Win World Cup Clash Against Portugal

By Kim Sang-yun | December 02, 2022 10:37
Korea faces Portugal in its final group match at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Friday.Korea has one point after a 0-0 draw with Uruguay in its first match, but suffered a 3-2 loss in its second match against Ghana.To advance to the round of 16, Korea must beat Portugal, which has already secured a place in the knockout stage.Korea's national football team manager Paulo Bento will not be allowed to sit on the bench in the crucial match against his native country at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, as he received a red card at the end of the match against Ghana.At a press conference on Thursday, Bento said Portugal currently has its strongest team ever, adding that he believes the country will do its best to win even though it has already qualified. But he said the Korean players would also do their best, using every means available, despite all the difficulties.He said his absence will not affect the players as they have been together for a long time, adding that he will talk with them before they enter the stadium."I am confident the staff will do whatever is needed and if they need to make decisions, I am confident they will be able to do so," he said.
Korea's national football manager Paulo Bento speaks at a press conference in Al Rayyan, Qatar on Thursday. /Yonhap
Portugal also needs to win Friday's match to improve its chances of winning in the round of 16. If it loses, it could drop to second, depending on the result of the match between Uruguay and Ghana in the same group. In that case, Portugal would have to face Brazil, the strongest team at the World Cup, in the round of 16.However, even if Korea beats Portugal, the win would be futile if Uruguay loses to Ghana. If Uruguay draws with Ghana, Korea must win the match by at least a two-goal margin, which is very unlikely.In order for Korea to reach the knockout stage, it must beat Portugal by at least a one-goal margin, and Uruguay must beat Ghana 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1.
Korean footballers warm up at a training facility in Doha, Qatar on Thursday. /Yonhap
Uruguay did not score in its two previous matches, marking the first time that the country, which claimed the inaugural World Cup title in 1930 and is making its 14th appearance, has failed to score in its first two group matches. The lack of success is attributed to the fact that its forwards, such as Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, are past their prime. There is a possibility that the team will suffer its first elimination without scoring a goal.On the other hand, Ghana has scored five goals in its two matches. It is also determined to win because of its history with Uruguay. In a quarterfinal match at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Ghana earned a penalty in extra time, but the shot was missed. In the end, it lost to Uruguay in a penalty shootout and the South American country advanced.Ghana's head coach Otto Addo said he is confident of winning the match, while Uruguay's head coach Diego Alonso said his players will use every weapon they have.

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