England fans preview World Cup last 16 tie against Senegal
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South Korea hero Hwang Hee-chan has revealed that Son Heung-min predicted his decisive strike against Portugal that sealed qualification for the World Cup knockout stages on Friday. Hwang squeezed home a desperate winner in stoppage time to secure a famous victory over Portugal and break Uruguayan hearts by sending them out of the tournament in the group stages for the first time in 20 years.
South Korea found themselves on the break with the scores level after a late Portugal corner fizzled out, with Son picking up the ball on the right-hand side of the pitch before stopping near the edge of the area. He managed to slide through Hwang with a perfectly-weighted through ball and the Wolves forward made no mistake in beating Diogo Costa from close range to wrap up the points for South Korea.
Hwang’s crucial contribution saw his side progress to the World Cup knockout rounds on goals scored in spite of Uruguay’s win over Ghana, although the player himself suggested after the full-time whistle that he was given a pre-match tip-off about his impending goal by team-mate Son.
“Before the match, Son told me I was going to create something today,” said Hwang. “He said: ‘We trust you’. When I went on as a substitute, a lot of my team-mates also said they trusted me.
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“When Son got the ball, I was convinced he would pass to me and it was an excellent pass. It made my job easy.”
Hwang and his team-mates faced an agonising delay as they waited for the match between Ghana and Uruguay to finish, with the latter needing another goal to reach the World Cup knockout stages and send South Korea packing. It never arrived, though, and there were jubilant scenes in the middle of the pitch when the South Korea players discovered that they were through and Uruguay were going home.
“It was difficult waiting for the other result, but we proved we can make it to the knockout phase and we kept that trust,” added Hwang. “This is something we wanted and we expected. I want to share these great feelings with the Korean people back home.”
Son was also quizzed on his post-match thoughts after breaking down in tears following South Korea’s win over Portugal and said: “These tears are tears of happiness.
“We waited really long for this moment and we as players believed altogether we could do this. I believe we got the result we wanted because we worked really hard. I’m really proud of our players.”
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