Heung-Min Son insists South Korea have ‘higher goals’ than a round of 16 win over Brazil – as Paulo Bento’s side book their place in the World Cup knockout rounds… as pundits praise Spurs star’s ‘incredible’ assist for winner against Portugal
Heung-Min Son has issued a defiant battle cry ahead of South Korea’s likely clash with Brazil after claiming his side have ‘higher goals’ than a round of 16 victory.
South Korea booked their place in the knockout rounds of the Qatar World Cup after beating Portugal 2-1, thanks to Hwang Hee-Chan’s injury time winner.
The Spurs winger provided the assist for Hwang and later reflected on his performance – before pundits then heaped praise on Son for his ‘incredible’ set-up.
Heung-Min Son insists South Korea have ‘higher goals’ than simply a round of 16 victory
The Spurs forward set up Hwang Hee-Chan (pictured) who scored the winner against Portugal
South Korea booked their place in the World Cup round of 16 in dramatic fashion on Friday
Speaking in the mixed zone after the game, Son said: ‘At first I thought it was going to be a hard game and we expected it to be a hard game.
‘It was really hard but our players did not give up and we worked hard. We did well and I’m proud of our players, they did well.
‘Going into the round of 16 was our goal and now we have higher goals and we will do our best to achieve those goals.
‘No-one knows the world of football, especially now, and since we have a chance to beat Brazil we will do our best and prepare our best game.’
Brazil’s place in the next round is secured although they could still qualify second if they suffer a massive upset at the hands of Cameroon. If not, they will face Son’s South Korea.
Though the Spurs forward remains confident, the task at hand remains a difficult one, given the fact they were thumped 5-1 by the Selecao in a summer friendly this year.
The Spurs forward was visibly emotional after his side secured an important win over Portugal
South Korea will now – likely – play against Brazil in the next stage of the competition
Son played a crucial role in South Korea’s progression into the next round after providing Hwang with a delicate assist in added time.
The 30-year-old picked the ball up inside his own half before driving to Portugal’s penalty area. From there, he picked a neat pass to feed Hwang in and the forward made no mistake in dispatching his effort.
His former Spurs coach, Mauricio Pochettino, said: ‘To have this player [Son] on the pitch, it wasn’t his best game but he was involved right at the end – when it mattered. He had one assist and it was enough to provide a goal and see them through.’
Pochettino’s punditry team-mate Alan Shearer added: ‘Everything about that goal was perfection. The run, to get up there in the first place, the pass.
‘To have the ability to pick that little pass and put it into his path. The technique, the timing of the run and then the finish. It was meant to be. Incredible.’
Son ran the length of the pitch – holding off multiple defenders – to set-up the winner
BBC Sport’s punditry team were full of praise for the 30-year-old after his crucial assist
Rio Ferdinand remarked: ‘He [Son] had one moment. Almost as good as the game were the pictures of the fans. The tears, the joy.’
Son was pictured in tears once the full-time whistle went, after South Korea knew their place in the next round was secured.
‘I believe these tears are tears of happiness. We waited really long for this moment and we as players believed altogether we could do this,’ Son said.
‘There were moments when I wasn’t able to do my best and I am thankful for my teammates that they were able to cover me in the moments I wasn’t able to fulfil my duties and I’m very proud of them.’
Son explained that he was crying ‘tears of happiness’ after his side produced the historic win
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