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By Yoo Jee-ho
DOHA, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea were hammered by Brazil 4-1 in the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup Monday night, unable to get past the top-ranked opponent to continue their underdog story.
Brazil had four goals from four different players in the first half at Stadium 974 in Doha, while substitute Paik Seung-ho had the lone South Korean goal in the 76th minute.
This was South Korea's third trip to the knockout stage, after reaching the semifinals in 2002 and the round of 16 in 2010.
South Korea have never defeated a South American team at World Cups, with two draws and five losses.
Brazil, with a record five World Cup titles, have only lost once in the round of 16, in 1990 to Argentina. They have been to at least the quarterfinals in every tournament since.
For South Korea, center back Kim Min-jae returned to the starting lineup after missing the final group match against Portugal last Friday with a right calf injury. Winger Hwang Hee-chan, who missed the first two matches with a hamstring injury but scored off the bench against Portugal, earned his first start of the tournament.
Neymar drew back into action Monday after recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of the past two matches.
Brazil toyed with the helpless South Korean defenders all night long, putting on a dazzling display of high-end skills and deft finishing around the goal.
Vinicius Junior opened the scoring just seven minutes in by converting a feed by Raphinha, who had danced his way into the Korean box and threaded a pass through the box.
Neymar then scored a penalty goal in the 13th minute, following midfielder Jung Woo-young's foul on Richarlison in the box.
Richarlison then got in on the scoring act himself, combining with Thiago Silva for a highlight-reel goal after bouncing the ball off the top of his head to shake off midfielder Hwang In-beom.
Lucas Paqueta put Brazil up 4-0 with a first-time finish off a Vinicius Junior cross from the left flank.
Brazil looked thirsty for more goals in the second half, with Raphinha testing South Korean goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu in the 54th and again in the 62nd minutes.
South Korea avoided getting blanked when Paik fired a left-footed shot from outside the box for his first World Cup goal in the 76th minute.
South Korea, Australia and Japan were three representatives for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), a record total for the continental governing body. All three, however, were sent packing after the round of 16.