Heung-min Son has described the wait to confirm South Korea’s remarkable World Cup qualification against Portugal as the longest six minutes of his life.
The Tottenham Hotspur forward’s involvement in the tournament in Qatar looked to be in doubt after he fractured his eye socket in the Champions League clash against Marseille, however, was deemed fit following surgery and the use of a protective mask.
South Korea needed to win to stand any chance of joining Portugal in the knockout stage, but even following the final whistle, their progress was not secured.
They dramatically reached the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup on goals scored after Hee-Chan Hwang struck a 91st-minute winner to beat Portugal 2-1 in Al Rayyan, following a brilliant run by Son which saw the Spurs man play an inventive assist into his team-mate.
Only twice before in their history had South Korea advanced to the knockout stages of the World Cup, with Son showing his emotions on the pitch following the final whistle. They will now face Richarlison’s Brazil on Monday for a place in the next round.
Son told The Mirror about the wait in the centre circle with his teammates as they watched the final moments of the match between Ghana and Uruguay: “It was the longest six minutes of my life.
“But in the circle we were really positive. The guys were saying, we deserve this.
“Then I said ‘look, whatever happens, even if Uruguay score one more goal, I’m f***ing proud of this team and very happy we gave everything and we’ll see what’s going to happen’. Everyone was just waiting but those minutes were long minutes.”
The relief was clear to see on Son’s face after the match. He has the weight and expectation of a nation on his shoulders and a group-stage exit would have seen yet another World Cup disappointment following their poor showing in 2018. Son has once again proven he is a big game player with his mazy run and vision to set up the match-winning goal.
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