(World Cup) S. Korea down 4-0 vs. Brazil at halftime in round of 16
By Yoo Jee-ho
DOHA, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea trailed Brazil 4-0 at halftime in their round of 16 match at the FIFA World Cup Monday night, in danger of going home after just one knockout game in Qatar.
Vinicius Junior and Neymar had a goal apiece within the opening 13 minutes at Stadium 974 in Doha, before Richarlison scored a beauty just before the half hour mark for a comfortable lead. Lucas Paqueta's 36th-minute goal put the match further out of South Korea's reach.
The winner will play Croatia in the quarterfinals on Friday at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha.
For South Korea, center back Kim Min-jae returned to the starting lineup after missing the final group match against Portugal last Friday with a right calf injury. Winger Hwang Hee-chan, who missed the first two matches with a hamstring injury but scored off the bench against Portugal, earned his first start of the tournament.
Neymar drew back into action Monday after recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of the past two matches.
Brazil opened the scoring just seven minutes in, while flashing their offensive skills. Raphinha danced his way into the Korean box and rolled a pass through multiple defenders to find Vinicius Junior, who waited patiently for a shooting lane to open up and fired it past goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu.
Only four minutes later, South Korean midfielder Jung Woo-young fouled Richarlison in the box. Neymar stepped up and beat Kim Seung-gyu to the bottom right corner for his third penalty goal against South Korea in the past two meetings.
Richarlison then brought fans out of their seats with the Selecao's third goal. With midfielder Hwang In-beom draped over him just outside the box, Richarlison bounced the off the top of his head a few times before making a pass and sprinting into the area. Thiago Silva threaded a through ball to Richarlison behind the defense, and the forward slotted it home for a 3-0 lead.
Paqueta joined the party with a first-time finish off a Vinicius Junior cross from the left.
This is the first World Cup meeting between the two countries and their eighth overall. South Korea have had just one win against six losses on seven previous occasions.
Brazil, with a record five World Cup titles, have only lost once in the round of 16, in 1990 to Argentina. They have been to at least the quarterfinals in every tournament since.
South Korea have never beaten a South American team, with two draws and four losses.
This is South Korea's third appearance in the knockout stage. They reached the semifinals in 2002 and the round of 16 in 2010.
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