AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Cristiano Ronaldo was “insulted” by South Korea’s Cho Gue-singing when he left the pitch, according to Fernando Santos, as the Portugal coach asked to defend the striker’s frustrated reaction to the substitute.
Ronaldo was seen having a verbal exchange with Cho as he walked to the seats and then put his finger to his mouth.
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The 37-year-old looked unlucky at the decision to bring him back in the 65th minute, but after the 2-1 defeat that sent South Korea into the last 16, Santos confirmed that he had had an exchange with Cho, who had made the former Manchester United. to pronounce “to be angry”.
“A player from Korea was insulting him, telling him to leave, so everyone could see that he was angry,” said Santos.
“I saw the exchange with the Korean player and I have no doubt about it and if you see the pictures Pepe went to the Korean player.
“He wasn’t aggressive, he was just verbally aggressive, he was talking to Cristiano in English, and Cristiano said, ‘Maybe she was aggressive.’
Ronaldo told Portuguese reporters that Cho was trying to hurry him off the pitch.
“What happened before my substitution, the South Korean player told me to leave quickly. I told him to shut up as he does not have that authority. There was no disagreement. [with the coach]”Ronaldo was quoted as saying.
South Korean midfielder Hwang In-Beom had little to say about the incident.
“I didn’t see, I was tired,” he said. “I have seen the land, and I have not seen it, and I have nothing to say.”
Portugal still finished top of Group H despite conceding a 91st-minute winner to Hwang Hee-chan which saw South Korea beat Uruguay to a place in the group stage.
Santos’ team were set to face the second-placed team from Group H – probably Switzerland, Serbia or Cameroon – but he insisted defeat in South Korea should be a “warning” to his squad.
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“We’re a little excited,” added Santos.
“We are the first in the group, but we wanted to win and to have a better game to increase the spirits of the players. But this result serves as a warning for our team.”
Meanwhile, South Korea will face Brazil after reaching the second round for the first time since 2010.
They were going until Hwang scored the dramatic winner that saw them qualify on goals scored against Uruguay, who exit the World Cup despite beating Ghana 2-0.
“Before the match Son Heung-min told me to create something today,” said Hwang.
He answered: We trust you. When I went on as a substitute, a lot of the team members also said that they believed in me, when Son got the ball he convinced me that he would pass to me and the jump was the best and my job was done easily.
“It was difficult to wait for another event, but we proved that we can do it to beat the season and we kept the faith. This is what we wanted and waited for. We want to bring back home great feelings with the Koreans.”