December 05, 2022 10:47
Korea faces world No. 1 Brazil in the knockout stage at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Monday.
Korea barely cleared the group stage with a win, a draw and a loss, finishing second in its group including Ghana, Portugal and Uruguay.
It defied the odds and beat European heavyweight Portugal 2-1 in its last group-stage match last Friday, after drawing with Uruguay 0-0 and losing to Ghana 3-2. It tied with Uruguay on points and goal difference but scored more goals, qualifying for the round of 16.
Korea, which is making its 10th consecutive appearance at the quadrennial event, advanced to the round of 16 at two previous tournaments, in 2002 and 2010.
Brazil earned a ticket to the knockout stage early with two straight wins in its first two matches in the group stage, though it lost its third match to Cameroon.
According to FIFA, Brazil is the only country to "have played in all the World Cup editions" since the beginning of the competition in 1930. It has "won the tournament five times, the most for any nation in history," it said.
It is one of the favorites to lift the trophy at this year's event, along with Argentina, France and Spain. It has many of the world's top players in its roster, including Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain, Vinícius Júnior of Real Madrid and Richarlison of Tottenham Hotspur, and is currently ranked No. 1 in the world.
Based on transfer fees, German football market website Transfermarkt estimated the total market value of the Brazilian squad at 1.14 billion euros, the second highest after England (1.26 billion euros).
On the other hand, the market value of Korea, which is currently ranked No. 28 in the world, is 164.48 million euros -- and Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur accounts for more than 40 percent or 70 million euros of it.
U.S. sports data provider Gracenote put Korea's chances of beating Brazil at 23 percent, which is the lowest probability among the countries competing in the knockout stage.
Korea has never faced Brazil in the World Cup. The two have played seven friendlies, with Korea recording a win and six losses. In the most recent of these, in June this year, Korea was defeated 1-5.
But that was the past, and it ain't over until it's over. Korea had only an 11 percent chance of beating Portugal before the final group match but it upset the European powerhouse.
Though the match between Korea and Brazil will be held early on Tuesday morning Korea time, tens of thousands of football fans and supporters are expected to gather to cheer the team on, hoping for another upset.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the temperature in Seoul is expected to drop to around -3 degrees Celsius on Tuesday morning. The Seoul Metropolitan Government is planning to allow cheering events for the match and is expected to come up with special traffic and safety measures.
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