South Korea vs Portugal: Possible Game Plan, Formation and Lineups

With qualification already secured, Portugal will take on South Korea in a Group H fixture, aiming to maintain their all-win record and go through to the knockouts of World Cup as group-winners.

File photo of Portugal's training session ahead of their World Cup fixture against South Korea on Friday; Credit: Twitter/@selecaoportugal
By Sreejith C R | Dec 2, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us


With qualification already secured, Portugal will take on South Korea in a Group H fixture, aiming to maintain their all-win record and go through to the knockouts of World Cup as group-winners. The Tigers of Asia, meanwhile, need to take all three points against Portugal to stand any chance of progressing to the last-16 stage in Qatar. The Taegeuk Warriors collected just a solitary point from their two outings, having played out a goalless draw against Uruguay in their opening fixture, before losing 3-2 to Ghana on Monday. Portugal, meanwhile, won both their opening fixtures to pocketed six points, three clear of second-placed Ghana, who will be up against fourth-placed Uruguay in the other match of the group on Friday. 

Read more: Croatia 0-0 Belgium: Talking Points as Croatia enter last-16 and the Red Devils crash out of World Cup

Game Plan 

South Korea displayed brilliant attacking football against Ghana on Monday, but were unfortunate to end up on the losing side. After going down by two goals, Paulo Bentoi’s side came back to level the score courtesy of a brace from Chou Gue-Sung, just past the hour mark at the Education City stadium. However, Mohammed Kudus’ second of the night in the 68th-minute restored the Black Stars’ lead. Although the Taegeuk Warriors came out all guns blazing in the final 10-20 minutes the Africans managed to hold on to the slender lead and secure all three points. With a World Cup last-16 spot at stake, South Korea are once again expected to put their best foot forward in the final group match on Friday.

Last game’s double-goal hero Cho Gue-Sung is likely to lead the line with Son-Heung Min and Kwon Chang-Hoon occupying the flanks. Jung Woo-Young and Hwang in-Beom could sit in front of the back-four , allowing the full-backs Kim Moon-Hwan and Kim Jin-Su to push forward whenever possible. The full-backs were brilliant with their crossing in the previous match against Ghana and would be expected to do the same on Friday. Despite not having the tallest players in their ranks, South Korea have been dangerous in the air, having scored both their goals in the tournament from headers. The precision of crossing and the timing and positioning of Gue-sung make them a lethal force up front. Meanwhile, Son will always be a threat on the left flank. He is quick and has the ability to cut inside from the left channel and find the back of the net from tight situations.  

Portuguese central defenders Pepe and Ruben Dias could be up for a busy night at the Education City stadium. Head coach Fernando Santos has already hinted that he could rotate the squad because of fitness issues. Therefore, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Danilo Perreira and nuno Mendes are unlikely to take part in this match. Bruno Fernandes, who netted a brace in the last game against Uruguay, is going to be a key man up front. The Manchester United playmaker is expected to play behind Joao Felix and Ramos in the attacking department. 

Possible formation and Lineups

South Korea forward Hwang Hee-Chan is nursing a hamstring injury and is unlikely to be available for Friday’s game. No fresh injury concerns have been reported and therefore head coach Bento might opt for the same playing eleven that started against Ghana. Napoli defender Kim Min-Jae will marshall the back-four consisting of Kim Young-gwon, Kim Jin-su and Kim Moon-hwan. As for Portugal, defender Danilo Perreira is sidelined with fractured ribs, while Mendes is out of the World Cup. 

South Korea probable starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Seung-gyu, moon-hwan, min-jae, Young-gwon, jin-su, Woo-young, In-beom, Chang-hoon, Woo-yeong, Heung-min, Gue-sung

Portugal probable starting lineup (4-3-3): Costa, Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro, Bernardo, Neves, Palhinha, Fernandes, Felix, Ramos



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