South Korea need passion, cohesion and a bit of luck against Portugal

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - South Korea Press Conference - Main Media Center, Doha, Qatar - December 1, 2022 South Korea coach Paulo Bento during the press conference REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

DOHA, Dec 1 (Reuters) - South Korea will have two things to offer when they face Portugal in their must-win final Group H game at the World Cup - collective dedication and passion - as they hope for a miracle to qualify for the last 16 on Friday.

The Koreans are third in Group H with one point and must beat Portugal to have a chance to progress to the knockout stage for the third time after 2002 and 2010.

Portugal have already qualified but still need a point to guarantee top spot so might not field a reserve team at the Education City stadium.

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo's availability is still in question after he missed Wednesday's training and stayed at the gym to do recovery and specific exercises.

South Korea coach Paulo Bento, a former Portugal international, said on Thursday that his home country have "one of the greatest generations of Portuguese football".

That was echoed by defender Kim Young-gwon who told a news conference: "He (Ronaldo) is a world class player, this is a well known fact and they have all these talented players. To contain them we'll have to play as a team, as one unit.

"We played our first two games with passion and we're going to have to show that passion again tomorrow. But we'll also need a bit of luck. If we have all that, we can create a miracle."

South Korea lost 3-2 to Ghana in their second game after an opening 0-0 draw with Uruguay and have their backs to the wall.

"We don't have anywhere else to go than forward," said Kim on Thursday.

Bento added that it did not matter whether his Portugal counterpart, Fernando Santos, fielded a first-choice team.

"He can play in different ways, with different formations, he can make three or four changes in his team and they stay at the same level," said Bento.

"In addition, the context is favourable to them, since they are already qualified and a draw will ensure first place."

Bento will be suspended for the game after picking up a red card in the Ghana game, but he fully trusts his assistants.

"They make most of the choices, they suggest them to me. It's not going to be a problem. This time they will be on their own but it won't change much," added Bento, who said he will sing the Portuguese anthem from the stands.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris

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