대한민국 축구 대표팀이 벨기에팀에 져 16강 진출에 실패했다.
홍명보 감독이 이끄는 축구대표팀은 27일 오전(한국시각) 브라질 상파울루의 아레나 코린티아스에서 열릴 벨기에와의 조별리그 H조 마지막 경기에서 0:1로 패배했다.
이날 한국 대표팀은 이청용(볼튼), 구자철(마인츠05), 기성용(선더랜드) 등 최정예 멤버로 벨기에를 상대했다.
경기가 시작되고 태극 전사들은 유럽 최강팀 벨기에를 상대로 전혀 밀리지 않는 모습을 보여줬다.
전반 45분 벨기에의 미드필더 데푸르가 김신욱의 발목 밟으며 퇴장당했고, 수적 우위를 갖고있던 대한민국은 후반전이 시작되고 골을 넣기 위해 더욱 골문을 두드렸다.
그러나 후반 32분 벨기에 공격수 오리지의 슈팅을 김승규 키퍼가 막았지만 침투하던 베르통헨에게 선제골을 내줬다.
결국 0-1로 경기가 마무리 되면서 한국 대표팀은 패배하고 말았다.
이에 따라 한국 대표팀은 승점 1점으로 H조 최하위를 기록하며 이번 월드컵을 마쳤다.
경기직후 홍명보 감독은 “선수들은 나름 최선을 다했다. 저희가 많이 부족했다. 제가 많이 특히 부족했다”고 2014 브라질 월드컵에 출전한 소감을 밝혔다.
또 “젊은 선수들이라 지금보다 미래가 촉망된다. 앞으로 한국 축구와 선수들은 더 발전해야 한다”면서 “그런 부분에서는 제가 가장 부족했다”고 자책했다.
대한민국 벨기에전 소식을 접한 누리꾼들은 “대한민국 벨기에, 아쉽지만 잘싸웠다”, “대한민국 벨기에, 다음 월드컵이 기대된다” “대한민국 벨기에, 다 최선을 다했으니 누구를 비난하지는 맙시다” 등의 반응을 보였다.
<관련 영문 뉴스>
10-man Belgium sends Korea home 1-0
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- South Korea’s road to the World Cup ended Thursday in Sao Paulo as a 10-man Belgium took a late victory over the Taeguk Warriors 1-0. Meanwhile, Algeria secured its first-ever ticket to the Round of 16 by tying Russia 1-1 in Curitiba.
Captain Jan Vertonghen took a rebound off goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu to score in the 78th minute, for Belgium to win its third straight match in the last 20 minutes.
Thursday’s match concluded Korea’s Brazil campaign and ninth World Cup appearance, after drawing with Russia 1-1 and losing to Algeria 4-2.
Korea’s coach Hong Myung-bo made two changes to his previous lineups: Goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu came on for Jung Sung-ryong, while Kim Shin-wook, who appeared in the second match with Algeria, started in place of scoreless forward Park Chu-young.
Belgian coach Marc Wilmots, meanwhile, made seven changes, opting to give his younger players some time on the field ahead of the knockout rounds.
Possession played out evenly in the midfield throughout the first half, though eventually tipping toward Belgium as Dries Mertens and Kevin Mirallas put pressure on the left. After Mertens’ failed free kick in the first 10 minutes, he made an attempt in the goal area around minute 24 off a pass from Mirallas, but shot too high.
Belgium almost faked out the defense in the 34th minute. Mertens drove into the penalty area and passed back to Mirallas while Korean defenders watched the ball. Mirallas returned to an unmarked Mertens, who shot too high again.
Shortly after, defender Hong Jeong-ho received a yellow card for holding Belgium’s Mirallas. Mertens made the free kick, which goalkeeper Kim tipped over the crossbar.
Korea gained some leverage at the end of the first half when midfielder Steven Defour received a red card after smashing into Kim Shin-wook’s ankle in a tackle, leaving the Belgians to play the second half one man short.
Lee Keun-ho -- a substitute in the previous two games, who scored Korea’s lone goal against Russia -- brought a flair of energy to the front line in the second half, coming on for midfielder Han Kook-young to threaten the box several times.
Mirallas attacked with a low shot in the 58th minute, but Kim cleared it and Son swooped in to cross the ball out to safety.
Immediately Korea rebounded and sent the ball to the other side of the pitch. Son drove the ball down the right and shot in the 59th minute, but his shot hit the crossbar and flew out on the left side.
In the 78th minute, goalkeeper Kim blocked a shot by second-half Belgian substitute Divock Origi, but Vertonghen took advantage of the rebound and scored the lone goal of the game.
Star midfielder Eden Hazard came on for Mirallas with two minutes left, but the game was already won.
After the final whistle, defender Kim Young-gwon lay motionless in the grass near the Korean goal as the team took in its defeat. The Taeguk Warriors slowly made their rounds to the 61,000 spectators and bowed to its fans. Son Heung-min, in tears, was among the last of the team to leave the pitch.
The team returns to base camp in Foz do Iguacu on Friday morning to recover before returning to Korea.
Korea was the last Asian Football Confederation team to go home without a victory, with Japan, Iran and Australia having already left winless in the group stage.
Even if Korea had beaten Belgium, it would not have passed Algeria in the standings to succeed to the knockout rounds. Russia would have had to beat Algeria, and Korea would have had to beat Russia by goal difference.
At the top of Group H with nine points, Belgium moves on to play Group G’s second seed, the U.S., in Salvador on July 1. Algeria, with four points, will play Germany in Porto Alegre on June 30.
By Elaine Ramirez, Korea Herald correspondent (firstname.lastname@example.org)