IN-KOR-REDIBLE SON HEUNG-MIN was the driving force behind a stunning late rescue act which keeps South Korea at the World Cup.
The Tottenham striker’s lung busting run in injury time and brilliant through ball provided the assist for Hwang Hee-chan to ram home the most important goal for his country in 14 years.
South Korea’s Hwang Hee-chan scored the dramatic last-gasp goal
They knew the importance of the strike as soon as it hit the back of the net
The Korean celebrations were incredible at full-time
They finished above Uruguay on goals scored after an incredible finale
The Korean bench was ecstatic after hearing news that Uruguay had not done enough
Son Heung-min sheds tears of joy at the full-time whistle
Luis Suarez was also in tears at the end of the game for very different reasons
It was a Premier League one-two with the Wolves’ player rolling the ball into the bottom corner of the net to secure South Korea’s qualification into the last 16 by a narrow margin.
Rivals Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 in the simultaneous Group H match but Son and his pals squeaked into the knockout stage on goals scored on another evening of last-gasp football.
South Korea then had to endure another six minutes of added time before Argentinian ref Facundo Tello blew the whistle.
Son, who has been playing at the tournament while wearing a face mask to protect a fractured eye socket, threw it off in celebration.
The Koreans finished second behind group winners Portugal who were already assured of qualification before the match.
They only needed a point for that but looked to be on course for all three when they took the lead after five minutes.
Veteran defender Pepe pumped a long ball high and long out to the right flank with Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot was waiting to take it on a darting run to the by-line.
A cut back was then perfectly weighted for midfielder Ricardo Horta to advance into the box and smash home an early goal to give them the perfect start.
Winning Group H gives Portugal the best pathway to the final as they now look set to avoid five-times winners Brazil.
But they put on an underwhelming show in what was effectively a dead rubber for them while it meant everything to the Koreans – managed by ex-Portugal midfielder Paulo Bento.
Just 14 minutes after taking the lead, the underdogs were level following a rare mistake by Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo.
An in-swinging corner struck him on the back and fell to defender Young-gwon Kim who swept home from close range.
With pressure mounting on the match and with the South Americans 2-0 up in the other game, Son pulled his players on to the pitch at half time for a public team talk and a huddle.
But it still looked as if their dream would die as Portugal refused to buckle just as the PA announcer informed the 44,000 people in the crowd that there would be six minutes of overtime.
From a Portugal attack in the Korean box, Son picked up the ball and galloped two thirds the length of the pitch in a run similar to his wonder goal against Burnley in 2019.
But instead of going all the way this time, he stopped, held up the ball with three players around him then poked a brilliant through ball into the path of Hwang who drilled his shot home to spark delirious scenes on and off the turf.