Two-time world champions Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 in their last Qatar 2022 football World Cup Friday, as both teams were eventually eliminated from the competition after failing to make it to the round of 16 for which Portugal and South Korea qualified from Group H.
Giorgian De Arrascaeta gave the South American their first and only two goals in the tournament in his first chance among the starting lineup. Earlier in the game, goalie Sergio Rochet had kept Uruguay's hopes alive for a while when he saved a penalty kick from Ghana's Andre Ayew.
South Korea scored a surprising 2-1 triumph over favorites Portugal with an injury-time goal from Hwang Hee-Chan. Cristiano Ronaldo's squad had taken an early lead through Ricardo Horta, but Kim Young-Gwon equalized for the Asians in the 27th minute.
The European side still finished top of Group H, while South Korea edged past Uruguay on their higher goal tally. After tying the South Americans with a neutral goal difference, (4 goals for and 4 against the opposite 2 goals for and 2 against) the striking efficiency proved decisive.
In Thursday's action, Japan ratified their surprising performance with a 2-1 over Spain.
Judging the book from its cover, skeptics might suspect the 2010 winners chose to lose in order to meet weaker Morocco in the round of 16 instead of 2018 runners-up Croatia.
But the truth is that Spain took the lead through Moratta after only 11 minutes and once Japan had come back with goals right after the break from Tanaka and Doan there was a moment when both European teams in Group E were being eliminated from the tournament.
Germany trailed Costa Rica 1-2. Although they eventually recovered and won 4-2 to tie Spain at 4 points apiece, the four-time cup winners still had to pack up due to the virtually unsurmountable goal difference Spain had built with their 7-0 victory over Costa Rica.
Earlier in the day, Morocco beat Canada 2-1 to clinch second place in Group F while Croatia and Belgium drew 0-0.
Brazil are to play Cameroon Friday and Switzerland take on Serbia on Group G's final day.