AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

Out in the group stage, but up in transfer stock


Hyeon-woo Jo had an exceptional World Cup.

His South Korean national team did not.

But that will not stop potential suitors from seeking the 26-year-old goalkeeper who was named Man of the Match against Germany.

[ MORE: Knockout round schedule, bracket ]

And there will be many more. The 2014 World Cup saw names like DeAndre Yedlin (USMNT), James Rodriguez (Colombia), and Keylor Navas (Costa Rica) gain plenty of renown.

Here’s a list of names who’ve left the World Cup in the group stage but will certainly have their proverbial tires kicked.

Hyeon-woo Jo, South Korea (Daegu FC)

And he’s humble, to boot. From FIFA.com:

“I’ve never had a perfect game like this before, in my entire career, but I wasn’t saving all the shots by myself today – I thought the other goalkeepers [Kim] Seunggyu and [Kim] Jinhyeon were also giving me a hand.”

Salem Al-Dawsari, Saudi Arabia (Al-Hilal)

Didn’t see much time on loan at Villarreal this season, but clearly is a player not constrained to playing in his home country. The 26-year-old winger scored, averaged key passes per game, and threw in 2.3 interceptions per contest for good measure.

Kenneth Omeruo, Nigeria (Kasimpasa)

The center back registered an assist and played an all-around game for Nigeria. At 24, he should have plenty of suitors.

Lee Jae-sung, South Korea (Jeonbuk Hyundai)

If the 25-year-old midfielder’s status as the 2017 K-League Most Valuable Player hadn’t already raised some eyebrows, his job patrolling the center of the park certainly did the trick.

Ramin Rezaeian, Iran (Oostende)

The 28-year-old right-sided man can play right back or more advanced. He’s a bit longer-in-the-tooth in terms of prospect, but a club could do worse in adding depth.

Moussa Wagué, Senegal (Eupen)

A 19-year-old right back whose name was already popping up in the rumor mill, he’s going to be carrying even more interest after scoring against Japan.

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 5 (video)

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In the fifth episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, Iranians party outside of the Portugal team hotel prior to their match, Mohamed Salah mulls international retirement, and more.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.

Bizarre spelling confusion in Iran v Portugal

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Iran came agonizingly close to knocking Portugal out of the 2018 World Cup on Monday and they could’ve topped Group B had a late chance from Mehdi Taremi gone the other side of the post.

Instead they are heading home at the group stage.

But there was something other than the chaos involving VAR and Cristiano Ronaldo’s missed penalty kick which incensed some concerned with Iran: the spelling on Portugal’s jerseys.

As is the case for international games, the opposition and date of the game is stitched on the jersey by the badge to commemorate the occasion.

Yet when a close-up shot of Portugal’s jersey was shown on television, many Iranians were up in arms as they thought the jerseys read “Iraq v Portugal, 25 June, 2018, Saransk.”

Of course, Iraq are Iran’s fierce rivals, so, cue uproar among the Iranian contingent.

However, when it was quickly pointed out that Iran is spelt “Irao” in Portuguese, then, well, it all made sense.

One of the more bizarre situations in this World Cup so far…

Queiroz: Anyone but Ronaldo (or Messi) shown red for elbow

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Carlos Queiroz, who’s Portuguese but just so happened to be the manager of Iran, believes his team was cheated after Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t shown a red card during the two nations’ dramatic Group B finale at the 2018 World Cup on Monday.

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

Ronaldo, who was already suffering through a pretty poor performance (by his lofty standards, as he entered his third game of the tournament with four goals following a hat trick against Spain and a single tally against Morocco) after missing a second-half penalty kick, when he appeared to throw, and connect with, an elbow at Morteza Pouraliganji in the 83rd minute. Referee Enrique Caceres initiated a video review of the incident, and decided it was only yellow card-worthy.

Queiroz, understandably and predictably, was left fuming at the decision following the full-time whistle. In his mind, any other player in the world (sans perhaps Lionel Messi) would be sent off for what is, pretty clearly, violent conduct.

Feel free to point to the fault in Queiroz’s logic, but I wish you the very best of luck in doing so. Queiroz and Ronaldo, of course, were quite close once upon a time — Queiroz played a role in Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United, where he became his assistant coach and something of a father figure, then again when Queiroz became Portugal’s manager for the 2010 World Cup.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

If he made contact with the player, it’s a red card; if he attempts to elbow him and misses, it’s still violent conduct and a red card; if he deems it wasn’t intentional, it’s no card at all. At no point in the series of questions and answers does a yellow card come into play.

In the end, Portugal have advanced to the round of 16 by the narrowest of margins — at Iran’s expense — thus Ronaldo’s impossible dream of winning the Champions League, followed by the European Championships, followed by the Champions League twice more, capped off by the World Cup — all in succession — remains alive.

Portugal cough up lead, narrowly avoid disaster in Iran draw

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For 91 minutes, Portugal were in complete control and headed for a comfortable first-place finish in Group B, but everything fell apart late as they drew 1-1 with Iran in the two sides’ group-stage finale at the 2018 World Cup in Saransk, Russia, on Monday.

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

As a result, Portugal finish behind Spain (based on goals scored), who narrowly avoided elimination themselves, and will head to what could be the most difficult half of a World Cup knockout bracket the world has ever seen — Brazil, France and Germany will likely await after a clash with Uruguay in the round of 16.

34-year-old Ricardo Quaresma marked his first career World Cup start with a stunning goal in the 45th minute, perfectly striking the ball with the outside of his right foot from 20 yards out. Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand came closer than most might have expected, but couldn’t make the save. (WATCH HERE)

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Portugal should have been 2-0 up in the 53rd minute, but Beiranvand denied Cristiano Ronaldo from the penalty spot — awarded upon video review. Ronaldo’s placement — both height and width — made it far too comfortable for Beiranvand, and set up a far more trying final half-hour than the reigning European champions would have liked.

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The penalty miss would prove costly, as Iran were awarded a spot kick of their own in stoppage time, converted by Karim Ansarifard in the 93rd minute.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

The ultimate disaster so nearly struck moments later, when Mehdi Taremi got in behind the Portuguese backline and fired just inches wide from a tough angle, rippling the outside of the net. A goal would have sent Iran top of the group and dropped Portugal to third, eliminating them altogether.