Sonny’s South Korea exit World Cup and take holders Germany with them!
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
The 25-year-old ended his World Cup campaign with a goal to help knock the holders out in stunning fashion
Tottenham Hotspur’s Heung-min Son ended his World Cup campaign on a high despite failing to prevent his country exiting the competition.
South Korea knew it would take close to a miracle to make it through from Group F and into the last-16.
While they achieved something completely unexpected in defeating Germany 2-0, they could only join the holders in biding farewell to Russia at the end of the game.
There was a sensational twist to the contest with a late Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review helping South Korea on their way to a memorable victory.
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Kim Young-gwon thought he had fired the Koreans ahead a minute into added time but the goal was initially disallowed for offside.
However, after a VAR review showed Germany’s Toni Kroos got the last touch, the decision was overturned.
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Tottenham attacker Son then rolled the ball into an empty net to turn the screw with German keeper Manuel Neuer stranded upfield to make it 2-0.
The defeat, coupled with Sweden’s win over Mexico, ensured Germany failed to emerge from the group stage for the first time.
Joachim Low’s men, who needed Toni Kroos’ last-gasp free-kick against Sweden on Saturday to preserve their hopes, created only a handful of chances with central defender Mats Hummels having squandered perhaps the best of them three minutes from time.
Despite Kroos and Sami Khedira orchestrating from deep, Germany were unable to create anything of note in the early stages.
Indeed, the game’s first real chance came at the other end after Khedira had been penalised for a high challenge on Jung Woo-young.
Jung dusted himself down before firing in a 19th-minute free-kick which Neuer spilled before only just managing to claw away the rebound before Son could pounce.
The Spurs frontman was handed a chance six minutes later after full-back Lee Yong’s cross had been only half-cleared, but he drilled his volley just high and wide of the target.
For their part, Germany were rarely able to inject any real pace into the game to open up their opponents and create genuine chances.
Low’s side belatedly started to flex their muscles as the whistle approached with striker Timo Werner seeing a 39th-minute shot deflected over and Hummels forcing a point-blank save from Jo Hyeon-woo after Kroos’ corner had been recycled by Werner.
Neuer looked far more comfortable as he fielded Jung’s speculative effort within seconds of the restart, but it was opposite number Jo who had to produce a fine save to keep out Leon Goretzka’s 48th-minute header after Joshua Kimmich had picked him out unmarked.
However, as news that Sweden had taken the lead in Nizhny Novgorod filtered through, Werner volleyed wastefully wide from Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil’s pull-back when he looked odds-on to score.
In a desperate search for inspiration, Low sent on Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller for Khedira and Goretzka, but it was Werner who passed up another opportunity when he scuffed his effort harmlessly wide after Ozil’s 64th-minute corner had been allowed to reach him beyond the far post.
Gomez headed straight at Jo from Kimmich’s cross four minutes later with the Germans stepping up a gear, but in an increasingly open contest, Son drove a 78th-minute shot into the side-netting at the other end.
Hummels should have scored after being picked out by Ozil with 87 minutes gone, but made a mess of his header and Kim took full advantage when, after Jang Hyun-soo had flicked on Son’s corner, Kim pounced, although it took a VAR review for offside for goal to be confirmed after Kroos’ touch saw the ball drop to his feet.
There was worse to come for the Germans in the sixth minute of stoppage time when substitute Ju Sejong rounded Neuer deep in Korean territory and rolled the ball into Son’s path for him to race clear and clinch a famous win.
Additional reporting by Press Association Sport.