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Korea's World Cup Adversaries: Brazil

The group stages are now behind us in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and it becomes a surprise to many that the Korean Republic are still fighting in this competition. The Taegeuk Warriors edged into 2nd place of their group dramatically to book their ticket into the round of 16.

Celebrations will now have to be put back on hold as they have the task of facing tournament favourites Brazil in the next round of games. Michael Redmond looks at the South American outfit leading into this one.

Match Details

Match: Brazil Vs. Korea Republic - Round of 16
Date: Monday 5th December 2022
Time:04:00 (Tuesday 6th December) KST, 22:00 AST, 16:00 BRT
Venue: Stadium 974, Ras Abu Aboud, Qatar

Kings of the Competition 

It is common knowledge to every football fan that Brazil is the world's most famous national football team. The canarinho (Little canary) as they are known have won the competition a record five times.

Their first win came back in 1958 when they defeated Sweden 5-2 in the final. They then went on to win the tournament four more times in 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. 

Can South Korea end Brazil's FIFA World Cup dream?
The 2002 World Cup was the last time the footballing giants lifted the cup. It comes full circle for the side as that was the world cup that was hosted in Korea and Japan.

A side which has had some of the world greats put on their famous yellow shirt, Brazil has always been an abundance of talent. Some noticeable players include Cafu, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Pelé, Neymar, and Zico just to name a few. The number of players who have not only played for Brazil but won the competition for the side deserves an article in itself.

How Did They Get There?

Quickly glossing over their qualification into the tournament, Brazil came first in their qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They cruised through on 45 points and with 14 wins, 3 draws and 0 losses in the CONMEBOL qualifications.

They were placed into group G in the finals. A group which housed Serbia, Switzerland, and Cameroon. Brazil started their World Cup with an impressive 2-0 win over Serbia. Both goals came from Tottenham Hotspur's striker Richarlison.

Brazil secured qualification to the round of 16 with two wins and one loss. 

They then faced off with Switzerland in the second round of games. It took Brazil the 83rd minute to break the deadlock as Manchester United's Casemiro scored won the game for the side 1-0.

With qualification almost wrapped up for the side, they rested several key players going into their third and final group-stage game. They fell 1-0 to Cameroon as a 90th-minute Aboubakar goal settled the difference.

Brazil finished the group level on points with Switzerland on 6 points, however, due to them having a better goal difference by one, they won the group.

Head to Head 

The two sides have never faced one another in international competition. However, they have faced one another multiple times in friendly games. The record comes as seven games played with six Brazil wins and one Korea win.

The last time the two sides met was only in June of this year. South Korea was promoting a 2002 World Cup anniversary tour of sorts and invited Brazil to Seoul. The game was an eventful one with Richarlison putting Brazil ahead in the 7th minute. Hwang Ui-jo then equalized Korea, giving them a chance.

It was not to be however as Brazil then really turned on their flair. Two goals from Neymar, a goal from Countinho and then Gabriel Jesus made the final score Korea 1-5 Brazil. It was a friendly, however, the game truly showed Brazillian dominance.

Notable Players

1It might be quick to point out who is unavailable for Brazil first for this tie, rather than promote the players who will be in the starting lineup. Brazil has some players out of the side due to injury.

The big news coming out of the Brazil camp is that Neymar is still not clear whether to play in the upcoming game. The forward injured his ankle in the game against Serbia and it is feared that the injury is worse than expected.
Brazil is looking to win the competition for the sixth time in their history. 
Not yet confirmed, but it also looks as if Sandro could be unfit to play due to a muscle injury and Danilo is also set to miss the tie due to an ankle injury. If this is true, Brazil loses two of their defenders going into the game.
Players who will be available though come in the form of Richarlison, who already has two goals to his name in this competition. The side has relied on him to get the goals for the side, scoring a brace in the first game and being a force up front.

The midfield boasts Casemiro who has completely transformed Manchester United since his arrival. It looks as if he is also a key player for the Brazilian national team in the middle of the park.

Brazil also boasts of having Tiago Silva controlling the back line and Alisson Becker between the sticks. This Brazil squad is packed with talent all over the pitch.


Final Thoughts

Korea managed to qualify by the skin of its teeth. I will be honest, I did not think I would have to write this adversary as there was just too much stacked against the Taegeuk Warriors.

However, they did go and beat Portugal 2-1 after going 1-0 down and Uruguay did manage to beat Ghana 2-0. It just showed the magic of the cup that Korea was able to get out of that group with only just four points.

Celebrations will have to end now though as they are up against the tournament favourites. Brazil is no joke and will look to walk the park of South Korea. In this game, Korea will need to be ready and strict in their tactics if they have any chance of progressing into the quarter-finals.

They may also need the spirit of the 2002 World Cup team on their side. If this competition has shown us anything so far, it is to never turn your back on the underdogs. We have seen Japan qualify from a group which hosted Germany and Spain. We have also seen Morocco win their group which hosted Croatia and Belgium.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup could have some unusual sides come into the later stages of the competition and many will hope that one of those sides is Korea.

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