Humble Cho stands tall

Published on: 28 June 2018

Cho produced yet another outstanding performance as Korea Republic sent the defending champions crashing out in the Group F clash at the Kazan Arena and was deservingly named Man-of-the-Match.

There was no other more deserving candidate, although late goals by Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min meant Korea Republic exited the 2018 FIFA World Cup with the record of being the first Asian team to beat the reigning World Cup champions in an official match.

Cho, 26, was amazing as Germany had 26 shots - six of which were on target - and his heroics were passionately applauded.

It was an amazing end to a campaign which saw Korea Republic head coach Shin Tae-yong springing a surprise when he named Cho as his first choice goalkeeper.

It was a decision which raised eyebrows as experience wise, Cho only had five caps to his name against the more established Kim Seung-gyu (32 appearances) and Kim Jin-hyeon (14).

Cho, however, was a picture of humility when asked to explain his phenomenal form in Russia 2018, which saw him concede just three goals - in the 1-0 defeat to Sweden and 2-1 reversal against Mexico.

"I am sure they (Seung-gyu and Jin-Hyeon) would have done a good job if they had gotten the nod," Cho said. "Everyone, from the players down to the coaching staff, competed as one for the people back home."

Against Germany, Cho's biggest save came in the 47th minute when Joshua Kimmich sent a cross to an unmarked Leon Goretzka for a header from point-blank range. Cho soared to his right to punch the ball out of play.

In the 68th minute, Mario Gomez tried to head one home, but Cho was there to stop it.

In the end, the famous win didn't bring a reward as Sweden and Mexico sealed the top two places in the group.

"I only found out about the Mexico-Sweden result after our game," he said. "Knowing that we'd just played our last match, I shed some tears. We all played hard for our fans back home and tried to make sure we'd have no regrets at the end."

That Cho certainly won't have and with the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 fast approaching, he will be expected to be a safe pair of hands again as Korea Republic aim to win the title for the third time.

Sources: Yonhap, FIFA via Getty Images