Despite playing the entire second half with 10 men, Belgium still beat South Korea 1-0 and will face USA in the Last 16.
The Red Devils were already qualified after two victories and gave Manchester United talent Adnan Januzaj his first start in a revamped side. Korea could still go through despite a 4-2 defeat to Algeria, but needed a win and for goal difference to favour them. Coach Hong Yung-Bo introduced striker Kim Shin-Wook.
Kim Young-Gwon blasted over from a tight angle, while Jan Vertonghen also couldn’t keep his shot down.
Napoli winger Dries Mertens somehow failed to score for Belgium on 25 minutes when Kevin Mirallas set him up from close range, as he ballooned over the bar.
Ki Sung-Yeung skimmed the woodwork and on the resulting corner Steven Defour performed a goalline clearance.
Mertens did manage to test Kim Seung-Gyu before half-time, but there was a twist in the tale when Defour was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Kim Shin-Wook.
Knowing Russia were leading Algeria, the Korean Coach threw on another striker. Mertens tested Kim Seung-Gyu from distance, bu Korea rattled the woodwork when a Son Heung-Min cross-shot swerved to smack the crossbar.
Marouane Fellaini and substitute Divock Origi had dangerous headers, so 10-man Belgium broke through. Origi’s long-range effort was parried by the goalkeeper, but only into the path of Vertonghen with no Korean defenders following up.
Lee Keun-Ho was at full stretch to reach a long ball over the top, but couldn’t control the finish. It could’ve been 2-0, but Kim Seung-Gyu got a palm to Eden Hazard’s solo effort, while Thibaut Courtois also needed a tough stoppage-time save on Lee Keun-Ho.
South Korea 0-1 Belgium
Scorers: Vertonghen 78 (B)
South Korea: Kim Seung-Gyu; Lee Yong, Hong Jeong-Ho, Kim Young-Gwon, Yun Suk-Young; Han Kook-Young (Lee Keun-Ho 46), Ki Sung-Yueng; Lee Chung-Yong, Koo Ja-Cheol; Son Heung-Min (Ji Dong-Won 74); Kim Shin-Wook (Kim Bok-Yung 66)
Belgium: Courtois; Vanden Borre, Van Buyten, Lombaerts, Vertonghen; Dembele, Defour; Mirallas (E Hazard 87), Fellaini, Mertens (Origi 61); Januzaj (Chadli 61)
Ref: Williams (AUS)
Sent off: Defour 44 (B)
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