|Korea players react after losing 4-1 during the World Cup round of 16 match between Brazil and Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Dec. 5. AP-Yonhap|
Before taking on world No. 1 Brazil in their first knockout match at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Korean players had talked tough, saying that they wouldn't just be happy to be in the round of 16 and that they would try their best to upset the Selecao.
However, reality punched them straight in the face Monday night, when Brazil hammered Korea 4-1 at Stadium 974 in Doha to advance to the quarterfinals.
Korea were taken to school, getting thoroughly outplayed and finding no answers against the flashy offensive display of the top-ranked team.
Brazil were everything that Korea aspire to be, clinical with their finishing and precise with their passes in tight spaces. Each of Brazil's four goals brought thousands of fans to their feet, such was their beauty.
Korea had reached this point by sticking to their guns and playing their usual, buildup football. It's largely predicated on winning the possession battle and patiently creating opportunities from the back.
But whatever Korea had planned to do, whether it was to attack down the flanks or get in behind their defense with speed, Brazil ruined those plans before the match was even a half-hour old.
|Brazil players celebrate with supporters after they won the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha, Dec.5. AFP-Yonhap|
Vinicius Junior, Neymar and Richarlison had a goal apiece to give Brazil a 3-0 lead by the 29th minute, and Lucas Paqueta added another in the 36th to essentially end the match there and then.
Brazil scored their first three goals with their four attempts on goal. The possession was almost dead even, but the Brazilians were far more ruthless and efficient when they had the ball in the final third. Having skills straight out of a video game also helped a bit.
Brazil were also quick to press Korea when they lost possession, and they often found teammates open when transitioning.
|A Korea supporter looks dejected after her team lost the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha, Dec. 5. AFP-Yonhap|
Korea continued to battle in the second half, with substitute Paik Seung-ho scoring the only goal for the Taegeuk Warriors with an impressive left-footed long-distance strike in the 76th minute.
But it was too little, too late. The match that kicked off at 10 p.m. finished just before the clock struck midnight in Qatar. With that, Korea's dream of a Cinderella run at the World Cup died, too. (Yonhap)