AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Cristiano Ronaldo was “offended” by South Korean player Cho Gwe-Sung as he left the pitch, according to Fernando Santos, as the Portuguese coach tried to defend the striker’s frustrated reaction to being substituted.
Ronaldo appeared to have a verbal exchange with Cho as he walked towards the stands and then put his finger in his mouth.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)
The 37-year-old appeared unhappy at the decision to send him off in the 65th minute, but after the 2-1 defeat that put South Korea in the last 16, Santos insisted it was his interplay with Cho that made the former Manchester United man. forward “angry”.
“The Korean player was swearing at him telling him to leave, so that’s why he was angry, everyone saw it,” Santos said.
“I saw the interaction with the Korean player and I have no doubt about that and if you look at the images you see Pepe went towards the Korean player.
“He wasn’t aggressive, he was just verbally aggressive, he was speaking in English to Cristiano and Cristiano said, ‘Maybe he had a bad day.’
Ronaldo told Portuguese reporters that Cho was trying to get him off the pitch.
“What happened was before my substitution, the South Korean player told me to get off quickly. I told him to shut up because he doesn’t have that authority. There was no argument [with the coach]Ronaldo said.
South Korean midfielder Hwang In-beom had little to say about the incident.
“I didn’t see it, I was too tired,” he said. “I was looking at the ground, so I didn’t see it and I have nothing to say.”
Portugal finished top of Group H despite conceding a 91st-minute winner from Hwang Hee-chan that saw South Korea edge past Uruguay for a place in the knockout rounds.
Santos’ side are set to face the second-placed team from Group H — possibly Switzerland, Serbia or Cameroon — but he insisted defeat to South Korea should serve as a “warning” for his side.
– Dawson: Son prepares to send South Korea
“We’re kind of upset,” Santos added.
“We are first in the group, but we wanted to win and have a better game to boost the morale of the players. But this result serves as a warning for our team.”
Meanwhile, South Korea are set to face Brazil after advancing to the second round for the first time since 2010.
They went out until Hwang’s dramatic winner saw them advance by a goal ahead of Uruguay, who crashed out of the World Cup despite beating Ghana 2-0.
“Before the match Son Heung-min told me that I will create something today,” said Hwang.
“He said, ‘We trust you.’ When I came on as a substitute, a lot of my teammates also told me that they trusted me. When Sean got the ball, I was confident he was going to pass it to me and it was a great pass. He made my job easy.
“It was hard to expect the other result, but we proved we could reach the knockout stage and we kept that confidence. This is something we wanted and expected. I want to share these great feelings with the Korean people back home.”