South Korea will make a last ditch attempt at picking up their first win and stay alive in the World Cup when they play their last Group H match against Portugal.
Seleção das Quinas only need to avoid defeat at the Education City Stadium to clinch the top spot of the group and set up a round of 16 meeting against the Group G runner-ups.
South Korea kicked off their World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Uruguay.
It was a commendable result for the Taegeuk Warriors, but their World Cup hopes were dealt a severe blow a few days later. The 2002 semifinalists fell short in a nail biting 3-2 affair with Ghana, which made second round qualification terms far more challenging for them.
Paulo Bento’s side now must beat Portugal to stay in contention for a round of 16 berth. But even if they do manage to win against the European powerhouse, it will be meaningless if Ghana beat Uruguay at the Al Janoub Stadium.
Portugal have already secured their round of 16 fate. Now, they would like to put the icing on top of the cake by grabbing the top spot of the group.
In their first match, Portugal saw off Ghana in a frenetic 3-2 affair.
They were in far better control of the game when they outplayed Uruguay to pick up a 2-0 win.
Three wins on the bounce will definitely bring more attention to Portugal’s title credentials.
Hwang Hee-chan is yet to play a minute for South Korea in Qatar.
The forward looks likely to miss out again as he struggles with a hamstring issue.
Son Heung-min is yet to score his first goal in this World Cup.
Cho Gue-sung, who scored both goals for South Korea in the competition, will return in the starting XI to spearhead the attack.
The Portuguese camp has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks.
Left back Nuno Mendes was forced to withdraw from the squad after coming off the pitch sustaining a serious injury during the Uruguay game.
Fernando Santos will not get to call upon Danilo at midfield or defence as he fractured his ribs.
Otávio is also a doubt for Portugal.
Apart from the injury enforced changes, Santos is expected to test his squad depth by resting some of his regular starters.
Therefore, the door could potentially open for João Palhinha, Diogo Dalot, and Gonçalo Ramos.
Portugal might start the game without some of their best players and South Korea could take advantage of that and nick a much precious win. We believe South Korea will win this 2-1.
Date: 2 December
Kickoff: 8:30 PM IST
Venue: Education City Stadium