Brazil was enjoying a comfortable lead by 0-4 against South Korea in the 31st minute of the latter half in the round of 16 on Tuesday. Lee Kang-in sent a free kick from the right side of the penalty box, and the ball hit the head of a Brazil defender before finding its way toward Paik Seung-ho, who was waiting near the arc circle. Paik fired a thunderous volley with his left foot, sending it zooming into the top right corner of the goal.
The goal was netted merely 11 minutes after Paik made his debut in the World Cup in the 20th minute of the second half. This bazooka shot at the speed of 89 kilometers per hour was simply unstoppable, even for the acrobatic dive of Brazilian Alisson Becker, one of the strongest favorites of the Yashin Trophy. It was Alisson’s first concession of goals this World Cup.
Paik salvaged the pride of South Korea by preventing a scoreless loss. The goal was a tricky one. According to FotMob, a football statistics website, the xG (expected goals) for Paik’s goal was 0.04. Expected goals are calculated by analyzing the position of players, distance from the goal, and the angle of shots to predict the goal-scoring rate under such circumstances. Paik’s xG at 0.04 means four goals are netted out of 100 attempts at the goal.
“Incredible strike! Must be all of 25 yards out. Even the great Alisson couldn’t keep that out,” posted BBC reporter Chris Sutton, dubbed the human octopus in reference to Paul the Octopus, which was used to predict the results of the 2010 World Cup. “I was waiting to have a go whenever there was a chance, and there it came. The ball was slightly curved, and it was a lucky one,” said Paik. “I began football watching the World Cup in 2002, and now 20 years later, I’ve debuted in my dream stage. It is an unforgettable day and a turning point in my life.”