Day 13 of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar was another filled with shock surprises for the world of football as Cameroon defeated Brazil – becoming the first African nation to do so.
There was also bitter sadness as Uruguay won their final game against Ghana but were sent home on goal difference when South Korea beat Portugal.
South Korea advanced on the tie-breaker of goals scored, pushing Uruguay into third place in one of the wildest finishes to a World Cup group stage in the tournament’s 92-year history.
Switzerland and Serbia offered up a five-goal extravagance of high-paced football with some extra on-pitch drama and tension.
Here is a quick recap of all you need to know from Day 13 – Friday, December 2 – of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
South Korea vs Portugal
South Korea got through to the knock-out Round of 16 at the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Portugal, though the game had opened with a goal to the Portuguese after just five minutes.
Despite Portugal’s loss to South Korea in their final Group H game on Friday, the Portuguese had already qualified for the next knock-out stage and all the pressure was on the South Koreans at Qatar’s Education City Stadium on Friday night.
Ricardo Horta was the first to hit the net for Portugal. Kim Younggwon brought his team back with an equaliser in the 27th minute and it was a 90th-minute shot by Hwang Heechan that sent the South Koreans on to the next stage of the tournament.
Even after their 2-1 victory and the final whistle was blown, there were eight agonising minutes before South Korea were officially informed they had made it through after Uruguay’s 2-0 victory over Ghana was not enough to usurp the South Koreans on goal difference.
When the result of the Uruguay-Ghana game was known and South Koreans were sure of their second-place finish, the players on the pitch erupted in joy, hugging each other and squirting water in the air.
“It really feels like a miracle,” South Korea striker Cho Guesung said after the match.
Ghana vs Uruguay
Though Uruguay solidly beat Ghana 2-0, it was not enough to keep from ending their World Cup dreams after qualification for the next round of the tournament came down to goals scored and South Korea had pulled off a 2-1 win against Portugal in the group’s other game.
Uruguay captain Luis Suarez could not watch as his team slid towards their painful World Cup exit on Friday. He put his hands in front of his eyes, then pulled his shirt over his head. When his face emerged again, there were tears.
When Suarez was substituted out in the 66th minute of the game, Uruguay was in a position to advance to the knockout stage for a fourth straight World Cup.
Suarez had played key roles in both Uruguay goals by Giorgian De Arrascaeta, which came after Ghana captain Andre Ayew missed a 21st-minute penalty. A shot by Suarez led to De Arrascaeta’s opener in the 26th minute. Suarez then set up the second with a clever pass that De Arrascaeta volleyed in six minutes later.
By the time the final whistle blew, Uruguay’s 2-0 had clinched the game against Ghana but cruel fate would still see them sent home due to goal difference.
Though Uruguay were two goals up on Ghana and the winners in their final Group H match, it was the late goal scored by Hwang Heechan in South Korea’s 2-1 victory over Portugal that sealed Uruguay’s fate.
“It is sadness and disappointment that we feel,” said Suarez, who was playing in his last World Cup. “I was lucky enough to play my fourth World Cup and I was thinking about my four-year-old son, who is leaving with the image of sadness. It’s difficult, but it’s up to me to face the situation.”
Serbia vs Switzerland
Switzerland beat Serbia in a high-octane five-goal thriller that saw the Swiss advance to the Round of 16 after pulling off a 3-2 victory over the Serbs.
In a contest that hit breakneck speed in the first half at Stadium 974, Xherdan Shaqiri put Switzerland ahead but Serbia swiftly responded and scored twice within 10 minutes through Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic.
Switzerland’s Breel Embolo then delivered another twist in an absorbing opening period by pulling his team level 2-2 just before the break, while teammate Remo Freuler scored three minutes after the second-half restart to restore their one-goal advantage and the final score in the 3-2 match.
The fast-paced game also saw tension spill out on the pitch when Mitrovic went down after a challenge from Fabian Schar. After his appeals for a penalty were turned down, his Serbian teammates ran out of the dugout and onto the pitch, protesting the referee’s decision.
There was also a bit of pushing and shoving in the final minutes, with Granit Xhaka and Nikola Milenkovic at the centre of the mini maelstrom.
Switzerland have now reached the last 16 of every World Cup and European Championship since 2014 and will meet Group H winners Portugal on Tuesday for a place in the quarterfinals.
Serbia, who needed a win to give themselves a chance of advancing, finished bottom of the group with only one point. They have never moved past the World Cup group stage since the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Cameroon vs Brazil
Cameroon scored a historic 1-0 win over Brazil but it was not enough to secure their advance to the next stage of the World Cup, after Switzerland defeated Serbia in the group’s other game.
While Brazil had already advanced and used mostly reserves on Friday night, the victory belonged to Cameroon, who became the first team to beat the five-time champion in the World Cup group stage since Norway did it at the 1998 tournament in France – ending Brazil’s unbeaten run of 17 group matches.
The win – which was sealed by a powerful header from Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar in the 92nd minute – marks the first time an African nation has beaten the Brazilians at the World Cup.
Brazil still finished first in Group H with six points, the same as Switzerland, but the South American side had a better goal difference. Cameroon ended with four points and Serbia had one.
Brazil will now face South Korea in the Round of 16, while the Swiss will play against Portugal.
Al Jazeera and news agencies