Hwang Hee-injury-time chan’s winner over Portugal meant South Korea beat Uruguay to a last-16 spot based on goals scored.
In the 91st minute, Hwang ran onto Son Heung-pass min’s to cap off a quick break and spark wild celebrations from his team’s fans in the stands.
South Korea needed to win to join Portugal in the knockout stage, but even after the final whistle, their progress was not assured.
Players and supporters on the field and in the stands watched the final moments of Uruguay’s game against Ghana, knowing that another goal for the South American side would send them out.
When the 2-0 victory was confirmed, a huge roar erupted around Education City Stadium, and South Korea could finally begin the party.
South Korea’s chances of a happy ending seemed bleak after falling behind after only five minutes, with Portugal scoring on their first meaningful attack.
Ricardo Horta was in the right place to sweep a first-time shot past Kim Seung-gyu and mark his World Cup debut with a goal after Diogo Dalot surged into the box from the right.
This made South Korea’s task even more difficult, but falling behind did not silence their thousands of raucous fans, and their team quickly responded.
When Kim Jin-su turned home the rebound after Diogo Costa saved Cho Gue-flicked sung’s header, the team led by former Portugal player and coach Paulo Bento thought they had responded instantly. However, the festivities were cut short.
However, an equalizer did not take long to arrive, and it came as a result of another cross. This time, a corner wasn’t cleared, and the ball bounced off Cristiano Ronaldo’s back and into the path of Kim Young-gwon, who couldn’t miss from close range.
With Uruguay’s victory over Ghana, South Korea’s path out of Group H was reopened, but the goals they required did not appear to be forthcoming.
Portugal, now assured of winning the group, looked more likely to score, with Vitinha and Horta both coming close.
Tottenham star Son, so often his nation’s hero, seemed to be trying to do too much himself and although he got plenty of power behind two long-range efforts, both were blocked.
At the start of stoppage time, it seemed South Korea were heading out, but they mounted one last attack after clearing a corner and this time Son played the pass instead of shooting himself.
He slipped Wolves forward Hwang clear to run into the area and deliver a cool finish to give this eventful World Cup group stage yet another twist.
South Korea’s reward is a tie against the Group G winners, likely to be Brazil, while Portugal will face Switzerland, Cameroon or Serbia