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Winners & Losers

No records today, Cristiano - just a big, ugly error! Portugal winners, losers & ratings as Ronaldo flops to send South Korea through

17:58 GMT 02/12/2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Son Heung-min Hwang Hee-chan
There were tears of joy for South Korea after a 2-1 victory that took them into the last 16 and Cristiano Ronaldo actually contributed to their win.

There were tears streaming down Son Heung-min's face at the Education City Stadium.

He wasn't the only South Korean crying. Several of his team-mates, and hundreds of their compatriots in the stands, had been reduced to an emotional mess by the most dramatic of finales to Group H, with the Taegeuk Warriors defeating Portugal with an injury-time winner from Hwang Hee-Chan to pip Uruguay to second place on goal difference.

The Koreans appeared to be going out with a whimper after conceding an early goal to Ricardo Horta. It was the worst possible start, and yet they responded in the best possible way, with Kim Young-Gwon pouncing on a corner that deflected off Cristiano Ronaldo to level the game before Hwang Hee-Chan popped up with an injury-time winner after a stunning surge from Son.

As for Portugal, they still progressed as group winners, meaning they have avoided Brazil but this was a game that raised more questions over Cristiano Ronaldo's fitness after a miserable evening for the forward.

Below, GOAL runs through the winners and losers from yet another dramatic night of action at a tournament full of upsets...

  • Son Heung-min tears South Korea World Cup 2022

    The Winners

    Son Heung-min:

    It just wasn't happening for South Korea's talisman. Time and time again, he took too much out of the ball, clearly too keen to try do it all himself, to carry his country into the last 16 on his own. But then, with just seconds to go, it finally all came together for the Tottenham man. Picking up possession wide on the right wing, but deep inside his own half after a Portugal corner, Son set off. Three Portuguese defenders were drawn to him and he waited until the perfect moment to slip the ball through Diogo Dalot's legs and into the path of Hee-Chan, who did the rest to spark wild scenes of celebration. And no neutral would begrudge Son this magical moment. He did well to even make it to the World Cup, after suffering a facial injury on the eve of the tournament; now he's just played his part in one of the greatest victories in South Korean football history.

    Ricardo Horta:

    Good things come to those who wait. Ricardo Horta was still only a teenager when he made his Portugal debut in 2014. It seemed that he had a long international career ahead of him. Yet this was just his seventh cap for his country, and only his second goal. Horta's long path to Qatar will only have made his well-taken opener all the sweeter.

    Paulo Bento:

    It all worked out in the end for Paulo Bento, but oh how he suffered! The South Korea coach, a former Portugal international, was forced to watch this game in the stands after being sent off after the full-time whistle in his side's loss to Ghana. It looked like he was going to endure more frustration here too, but Hwan, one of his substitutes, changed everything. The sight of Bento being reunited with his jubilant coaching staff and players after the game is one of the most endearing images of the tournament to date.

    South Korea's fans:

    They just never stopped singing, bouncing and beating their drums. And it'll be some time before they stop celebrating this epic victory. They tempted fate by mocking Ronaldo with chants of "Messi! Messi! Messi!" but they got away with it. This was on off day for the great man but a historic one for South Korean supporters, who absolutely lost it when the Uruguay-Ghana game concluded.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

    The Losers

    Cristiano Ronaldo:

    The slow walk to the touchline said it at all. Cristiano Ronaldo was not happy and that was hardly surprising. Given he had been an injury doubt beforehand, it was a surprise to see the five-time Ballon d'Or winner start this game, and he might wish he hadn't. It was a miserable evening for Ronaldo, who struggled to get into the game early on, having just three touches inside the opening quarter. He then played a key role in Korea's equaliser, accidentally deflecting a corner into the path of Kim Young-Gwon. Thereafter, Ronaldo struggled to stay onside and appeared to have a few words with Cho Gue-Sung as he reluctantly left the field just after the hour mark. Fair to say that the real Ronaldo has yet to turn up in Qatar as he goes in search of the two goals that will take him above Eusebio as Portugal's all-time top scorer at World Cups.

    Rafael Leao:

    This felt like the ideal occasion for Fernando Santos to unleash Rafael Leao from the off. However, the AC Milan attacker once again had to make do with a seat on the bench. One can understand that approach to a certain degree. Leao's lightning pace should be a great asset against tiring legs but the 23-year-old failed to push his claims for a starting spot during his half-hour cameo.

  • Pepe Portugal

    Portugal Ratings: Defence

    Diogo Costa (7/10):

    Was given plenty to do and stood up well to the challenge. Nothing really he could have done about either goal, having been let down by those in front of him.

    Diogo Dalot (7/10):

    Terrific start to the game, creating Horta's goal before then standing up brilliantly to Son Heung-min when the Korea forward was running directly at him. Very nearly put Portugal back in front with a good strike, after a tremendous first touch, shortly before half-time. But he was nutmegged by Son in the dying seconds and that proved costly...

    Pepe (6/10):

    Laid the foundations for the opener with a terrific ball over the top for Dalot to latch onto but had some shaky moments. Still a fierce and fearsome competitor at this level but a potential weak link going forward.

    Antonio Silva (5/10):

    A decent run-out but not as impressive as his veteran central defensive partner. He'll be replaced by Ruben Dias in the last 16.

    Joao Cancelo (6/10):

    Some nice touches here and there but still struggling to replicate his Manchester City form.

  • Vitinha Portugal

    Midfield

    Matheus Nunes (6/10):

    Repeatedly showed off his good technique but didn't make the most of a decent opening just before the interval. Hauled off midway through the second half.

    Ruben Neves (6/10):

    Terrific cross-field pass to Cancelo probably the highlight of his game before being replaced in the 62nd minute.

    Vitinha (7/10):

    Decent strike from distance after a corner and there was a lovely link-up with Ronaldo at one point. But probably didn't do enough to earn himself a starting spot in the last 16.

  • Portugal celebrating

    Attack

    Joao Mario (4/10):

    Failed to justify his inclusion with even his first touch letting him down at times. Looked like a fish out of water when stationed out wide.

    Cristiano Ronaldo (4/10):

    Struggled to get into the game early on, having just three touches of the ball in the opening quarter, and then came his unfortunate role in Korea's equaliser. Flagged offside a fair few times, perhaps wrongly on occasion, but still fluffed his finishes. His form is a legitimate concern.

    Ricardo Horta (7/10):

    Broke the deadlock inside the opening five minutes with a very tidy finish from Dalot's cut-back. Had another decent chance towards the break but didn't really get a hold of the ball.

  • Fernando Santos Portugal

    Subs & Manager

    Rafael Leao (5/10):

    Came on just after the hour mark but failed to impress.

    Joao Palinhna (5/10):

    Replaced Neves in the middle of the park in the 65th minute but didn't make his mark as Portugal lost control of the game.

    Andre Silva (5/10):

    Took over up top from Ronaldo for the final half hour but didn't get a real sight of goal.

    William Carvalho (N/A):

    Only introduced for the last 10 minutes.

    Bernardo Silva (N/A):

    Not on long enough to be judged.

    Fernando Santos (4/10):

    One really has to question his decision to start Ronaldo. Was it his call or his star striker's? Either way, it was the wrong one. As well as risking an injury to the international game's all-time leading goalscorer, the No.7 also performed dreadfully. This outing will have done nothing for Ronaldo or Portugal.