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Sweden vs South Korea
2018 FIFA World Cup, Group F
|Nizhny Novgoord Stadium, Nizhny Nogorod|
Sweden have returned to the World Cup with an opening game win over a disappointing South Korea, who after a solid first half, failed to turn up in the second half. A second half penalty to Andreas Granqvist was the difference between the two sides.
This match was characterised by physicality. Both teams traded fouls throughout the match, the clash of bodies occurring in all parts of the field, at every stage of the match.
The match was also signified by the involvement of VAR, after Sweden had screamed at the referee for a penalty, screams which appeared to fall upon deaf ears. However, when the game next stopped, and the referee got the tell-tale touch on his ear, upon further viewing, he pointed to the spot. Granqvist making no mistake.
Korea will now truly be up against it to make the knock out stage of this tournament, particularly keeping in mind they have Germany to come. As for Sweden, with three points in the bank, they can look to the rest of the tournament with hope and vigour, they’re only concern being the 15 shots on goal that produced the single goal, and that one being a penalty.
South Korea 0
Match 12 kicks off Day 5 at the FIFA World Cup with Sweden matching up against South Korea in the second group F match at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 10pm (AEST).
If there is a group of death in this tournament, this is it for mine, with a reigning world champion, and a central American, Asian, and fellow European side making up the four teams in the group. Given that Germany have never failed to make the knockout tournament stage, that really leaves three teams vying for that last knockout spot.
The thing that these two nations have in common is they both did what they needed to do to qualify. Neither topped their respective qualification groups, but certainly showed enough to demonstrate that they have the quality to mix things up a little.
Sweden did what most thought they could not do to get here: beat Italy, meaning the four-time world champion did not qualify. So you would think that beating one world champion would give Sweden all the confidence in the world coming into the World Cup itself.
Belief, as demonstrated by the likes of Iran, Iceland, and even Australia, can sometimes be the key ingredient in any tournament based play, and it may well be the difference here. That belief also saw Sweden score goals galore in the qualification phase, managing 26 in their ten group qualification matches.
South Korea, on the other hand, are a team searching for an identity. The wonderland that was the 2002 World Cup seems like a lifetime ago.
While that tournament was seen as a turning point for the nation as a football powerhouse, Korea have never really pressed on from that performance. Entering this World Cup, they find themselves ranked 57th in the FIFA world rankings.
However, Korea have one ace up their sleeve, and that is their star player Son Heung-Min. A key player for London giant Tottenham Hotspur, the Korean frontman will be the main threat for the Asian nation against a well-drilled Swedish unit.
These two nations also have some history, having met four times in the past, though this will be their first World Cup meeting. Sweden to date are undefeated against Korea, having won two and drawn the others.
The difference here will be the attack. Sweden know how to score, and Korea can only expect so much from Son. The other thing in Sweden’s favour is that they haven’t lost a World Cup match since Italia 90, and it is hard to see that streak coming to an end with this match.
Sweden 3 – Korea Republic 1.
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