After beating Uruguay by 2-0, Portugal will take on South Korea in their final group-stage game. Both teams will face each other for the second time in a World Cup after South Korea secured all three points against them in the 2002 edition, which saw Portugal packing their bags from the tournament.
Portugal vs South Korea: Portugal to Take on South Korea In Their Final Group Stage Fixture
Talking about S. Korea first, they started their World Cup campaign promisingly as they held South American Elite Uruguay at a goalless draw. Still, in their second game, they lost against Ghana by 2-3, where both G.S. Cho and Muhammad Kudus scored braces for their nations, but in the end, Muhammad Kudus’s 68th-minute goal proved enough for Ghana to take home all three points.
After group stage round two, they sit third at the table with one point in two games and now have an uphill challenge in front of them in the form of Portugal. They still have a chance to book their ticket to the round of 16 stages if they beat Portugal by a good margin and if Uruguay beats Ghana by a narrow margin.
It’s worth mentioning that Bento won’t be present for this game after he received a red card after the defeat against Ghana for furiously reacting to the referee a decision to blow the full-time whistle before his team could take the corner.
Assistant Sergio Costa talked to the media after the game and said :
“We shall continue to prepare in the same way as other matches; our strategy will not fail. He won’t be present on the matchday, which is a loss because Paulo is a great manager, but I think it will bring us together.”
South Korea Probable Starting XI :
Seung-gyu, Moon-hwan, Min-jae, Young-gwon, Jin-su, Woo-young, In-beom, Chang-hoon, Woo-yeong, Heung-min, Gue-sung
On the other hand, Portugal got off to the start by winning over Ghana in a 5-goal thriller. In this fixture, Ronaldo became the first player to score in five different World Cups after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner converted the penalty.
However, they were lucky to take all three points as Inaki Williams slipped in front of the goal after beating Diego Costa in the game’s dying minutes. In their second fixture, they beat South American giant Uruguay by 2-0, taking revenge for the round of 16 defeat in the previous edition with the same scoreboard.
With two wins in two games, they comfortably sit at the top of the table with six points, three more than second-ranked Ghana. In their final fixture, they will face South Korea and would like to secure points as only a win or draw can confirm their first position at the table.
Moreover, if they win, it will be the third time in their history that they manage to win all three group stage matches, after doing so in 1966 and 2006.
It is worth mentioning that they haven’t lost a World Cup match so far after scoring first (P18 W15 D3) and are the team to do so more than any other nation in World Cup history.
Nuno Mendes, subbed off before the end of the first half against Uruguay, has been ruled out from the World Cup and will be replaced by Raphael Guerreiro. Danilo won’t be available to play with his fractured ribs, while Otavio’s inclusion is uncertain due to injury, which forced him to miss the game against Uruguay.
Moreover, Cristiano Ronaldo is doubtful to feature in this game after missing Wednesday’s training session.
As expected, Santos has announced to make some changes in this final game and, most likely, will go with Diogo Dalot, Joao Palhinha and Goncalo Ramos.
Portugal Probable Starting XI :
Costa, Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro, Bernardo, Neves, Palhinha, Fernandes, Ronaldo, Ramos
South Korea vs Portugal Match Facts :
* Location: Al Rayyan, Qatar
* Venue: Education Stadium
* Date: 2 December, Friday
* Kick-off Time: 15:00 GMT / 10:00 ET / 07:00 PT
With South Korea desperately looking to take all three points, it will be a tricky game for Santos’s side, who has already qualified for the next round and only need one point to secure their first position at the table. Still, it is expected that Portugal will prove too much for them, given the recent form and squad depth.