Tag Archives: South Korea

Sixty years on, Uruguay look to repeat history

Uruguay are through to their first World Cup Quarter Finals in forty years. The Charruás defeated the Korean Republic courtesy of a brace from striker Luis Suárez. With Suárez and his strike partners, Diego Forlán and Edinson Cavani, in fine form Uruguay may even by considered as the favourites to progress to the Semi Final.

That Uruguay has made it to the latter stages of the competition is an impressive feat. A country with a population of 3.4 million, Uruguay can not count on the same resources and recent pedigree of their continental rivals. They can, however, count on the efforts of their manager Óscar Tabárez. The veteran coach is currently enjoying his second stint as the coach of the national side, having spent the intervening years at Boca Juniors, Cagliari and AC Milan amongst others. The Montevideo born manager has called upon perhaps the most talented generation of Uruguayan players since the triumph of 1950.

The world has long been acquainted with the talents of Diego Forlán. The striker, twice the holder of the Pichichi, was seen as the only Uruguayan player of world class calibre until Luís Suárez’s astonishing tally of goals for Ajax brought Suárez to the attention of the footballing world. With Forlán playing in a supporting role behind Suárez and Edinson Cavani of Palermo, Uruguay command one of the most prolific attacking trios in the tournament.

Uruguay’s success is not built on these three forwards, however. The Charruás have been organised by Tabárez into a solid defensive unit. Uruguay have yet to be beaten in the competition, despite having controlled possession under 45% of the time in each of their four games to date. Credit must be accorded to team’s captain Diego Lugano. The ferocious defender marshals a back four which is notable for its resolve. Lee Chung Yong’s goal this afternoon marked the first occasion the team has conceded at the World Cup so far.

The back-four of Lugano, Godín, Fucile and Maxi Pereira is protected by a combative and composed midfield. Alvaro Pereira, Diego Perez and Egidio Arevalano do not offer much to Uruguay creatively but are supplemented by the prodigious Nicolas Lodeiro, who has an unrivaled intelligence for a player of his age.

The group stage confirmed what many already believed, that this Charruás team is the most complete Uruguayan side since the side that stunned the Maracana in 1950. In a recent interview, Alcides Ghiggia, the man who scored the winning goal in that tournament, remarked that this team has the capability to mount a serious challenge for the nation’s third World Cup triumph.

Ghiggia himself was speaking in South Africa just after receiving the FIFA Order Of Merit award for his part in the 1950 campaign. The Charruá speaks of that monumental day when Uruguay upset the hosts Brazil and his pivotal contribution with the verve of a man less than half his age.

“Three people have silenced the Maracana”, he said, “the Pope, Sinatra and I”. Suárez, Forlán and co are unlikely to replicate his achievements but they have the talent to pose a significant threat to any side now.

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Dave Hanratty’s Winners & Losers – Day 7

Winners


Irish fans

Yes we are that bitter. And yes, watching France lose and possibly bow out this soon was damn sweet.

Mexico

Took full advantage of France’s apathy to put themselves firmly in the driving seat. A point is all that is required from their game against Uruguay to progress beyond the group stage. With the exception of Germany, the South American teams have played the most attacking and exciting football and Mexico kept up the standard.

Javier Hernández and Cuauhtémoc Blanco

The future and past of Mexican goalscoring talent combined to see off France. The future is bright for  Manchester United’s newest acquisition having now scored eight goals in fourteen appearances for his country while the 37-year-old Blanco added to his legend with a well-taken penalty to seal a famous victory.

Argentina

Repelled a South Korean fightback in style to make it six points from six and should finish the group with the maximum number when they face Greece. Diego Maradona’s men have been impressive without having to go to too much trouble. It’s early days yet and Messi has yet to hit the back of the net but the early signs are good for a team that struggled greatly through the qualifying campaign.

Gonzalo Higuain

A cool, calm and collected hat-trick makes the Real Madrid forward YOUR World Cup top goalscorer.

Greece

Lesson learned. Following the wretched anti-football that led to their demise against South Korea, the 2004 European Champions woke up and took the game to Nigeria. An especially impressive result considering they came from behind to win, scoring their first ever goals in the World Cup finals in the process.

Alexandros Tsorvas

A very lucky boy. Coming out on the winning side should make people forget about his Bruce Grobbelaar-esque goalkeeping that led to Greece conceding the opening goal.

Losers


France

Karma is a bitch. Outclassed and outplayed, the 2006 finalists looked disinterested throughout. Perhaps Raymond Domenech has finally broken his team’s spirit. In any event, France appeared content to let Mexico play and barely put up a fight.

Thierry Henry

And speaking of karma, all the former French captain could do was watch from his designated spot on the bench. Safe home Thierry.

Nigeria

In relative control following an early lead, the Super Eagles were mostly untroubled until one man threw it all away…

Sani Kaita

A moment of utter stupidly from the Nigerian midfielder led to his dismissal and the subsequent Greek revival. It might seem harsh to place the failing of a team on the shoulders of one player, but Kaita’s assault on Vasilis Torosidis cost his team the match and effectively booked their ticket home.

Sani Kaita red card is the catalyst for Greek revival

Greece 2-1 Nigeria

A moment of madness from Nigerian midfielder Sani Kaita gave Greece the ideal platform to mount a comeback against Lars Lagerbäck’s side.

Following Argentina’s earlier 4-1 victory over the Republic of Korea, both sides were in desperate need of a victory to keep their chances of qualification for the next round intact. Despite the pressing need to win, neither side looked likely to threaten in the early stages. Greece’s Katsouranis tried a speculative chip from near the halfway line but his effort was easily saved by Vincent Enyeama, whose performance against Argentina had impressed the footballing world.

Nigeria took the lead in the 16th minute. An inswinging freekick from Kalu Uche eluded an attempted header from Peter Odimwingie before finding its way into the Greek net. Goalkeeper Alexandros Tsorvas was clearly expecting Odimwingie to make contact with Uche’s freekick as he dived away from the cross. Greece were facing an early exit from the World Cup.

Nigeria looked comfortable in the lead. Otto Rehhagel’s side, as they were against South Korea, were reduced to punting long balls forward into their opponents penalty area. These poor passes posed no problems for the Nigerian central defenders, Danny Shittu and Joseph Yobo, who headed each of them away with ease.

The game’s pivotal moment arrived in the 33rd minute. Torosidis and Kaita jostled for the ball after it had gone out for a through in with the latter aiming a kick at the Greek’s thigh. Torosidis collapsed to the floor clutching his face in a shameful attempt to capture the referee’s attention. Despite Torosidis’ clear overreaction, Kaita deserved the subsequent red card. The AS Monaco midfielder could hardly believe it, falling to his knees as the referee produced the card before trudging from the field with his shirt covering his face.

Rehhagel sensed that his side’s chance had arrived. He almost instantly summoned Georgios Samaras from the bench, the Celtic striker replacing Papastathapolous.

Nigeria’s players were visibly rattled by the dismissal of their talented midfielder. Greece on the other hand were buoyant. Far from their uninspired ‘Route One’ football that they had displayed at this World Cup until then, they played sublime high tempo passes along the ground. Salpigidis almost benefited from this newly acquired lust for goals and was played through on goal. He was unable to shoot past the onrushing Vincent Enyeama who was once again the hero for Nigeria, producing a wonderful save.

The Maccabi Haifa ‘keeper was powerless to prevent the inevitable equaliser however. Salpigidis, who had shown some effectiveness after coming on as a substitute against South Korea, fired a low shot towards the bottom right corner. On its path to goal it was deflected by Haruna and ended up high to the left of Enyeama. Salpigidis wheeled away with his teammates as they celebrated Greece’s first ever World Cup goal.

The half time whistle was welcomed by the Super Eagles who huddled on the pitch before jogging purposefully towards the tunnel. Lars Lagerbäck had the difficult task of re-organising his unnerved side.

The Swedish coach’s team talk clearly had little effect on his side as the pattern of the second half bore a vivid resemblance to that of the first. Greece, perhaps out of character, controlled possession for long spells and always seemed the more likely to score the goal that would separate the teams.

Nigeria suffered another blow in the 55th minute. Talented fullback Taye Taiwo pulled his groin as struck an overhit cross into the Greek penalty area. The Marseille stalwart’s combination of defensive knowhow and his intrinsic athletic ability were sorely missed by the Super Eagles over the following 35 minutes or so.

Shittu and Yobo remained steadfast in their defiance of repeated Greek attacks. The corner count was rising rapidly as cross after cross was headed away confidently by the Premier League duo. Yobo was culpable for what proved to be one of the match’s decisive moments, however. His failed attempt at a clearing header fell to Gekas. The superb Enyeama prevented the striker from scoring with an outstanding save with his feat. From the save the ball was pumped forward and Nigeria found themselves in an attacking position with Yakubu Aiyegbeni in a one on one situation with Tsorvas. The Greek goalkeeper matched his Nigerian counterpart’s efforts with a magnificent parry. His block looked to be in vain as it dropped into the path of Chinedu Obasi. Obasi rounding off a tremendously exciting passage of play with a horrific miss from six yards, one which may yet rank as the worst of the tournament.

Enyeama was once again the pillar on which Nigeria’s hopes lay. He produced perhaps his best save of the competition to date as he flew across his goalmouth to deny a header from Gekas.

For all of his wonderful goalkeeping the Nigerian goalkeeper was culpable for Greece’s second and what proved to be the critical goal. A low shot from the edge of the penalty area swerved at the last possible moment and Enyeama failed to adjust his body to meet it firmly. The ball rolled into the path of Torosidis who dispatched the winning goal and prompted an ecstatic reaction from both the crowd and the Greek substitutes.

Enyeama protested the referee’s decision to allow the goal as Yobo was injured in the build-up after clashing heads with Samaras. His complaints went unheeded.

Greece continued to dominate in the closing stages. Nigeria’s best chance at an unlikely equaliser fell to Everton’s Yakubu who curled a shot just to the left of Tsorvas’ goal.

Criticisms of Lars Lagerbäck proved to be valid. The Swedish coach did little to console his side after the fatal dismissal of Kaita. His failure to readjust his formation accordingly was capitalised on by Otto Rehhagel, who had contended that his side would play attractive football if Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta were amongst the members of his squad. His side may not have produced a display of the same calibre as Argentina’s earlier today but the exertions of his squad and their gritty determination to overturn Nigeria were commendable.

Nigeria must now beat the Republic of Korea and hope that Argentina beat Greece for the Super Eagles to have any chance of reaching the Round of 16.

Albiceleste turn on the style to humble South Korea 4-1

The College View’s News Editor, Niall Farrell, witnessed Argentina produce one of the best performances seen so far in this World Cup. Diego Maradona’s side defeated South Korea 4-1 at the Soccer City stadium, Johannesburg.


From the outset, Argentina were firmly on the attack. The first real chance came after eight minutes, but Gonzalo Higuain’s fluffed shot drifted harmlessly over.

Within twenty minutes, Argentina had opened the scoring. A crossed ball was diverted into the South Korean net by Park Chu-Yung ahead of the on-rushing Martin Demichelis.

South Korea aimed to peg Argentina back immediately, as Ki Sung-Yeung shot narrowly over the Argentinean goal on the counter-attack.

Argentina’s accurate passing ensured that the Koreans didn’t have the ball for long though. Ángel Di María and Lionel Messi made probing runs down the flanks.

A free-kick from Carlos Tévez on twenty-eight minutes almost yielded a second goal for Argentina. Tévez struck a fine free-kick just inches over the crossbar.

The South Koreans had two more chances before the half-hour mark from Beom Seok-Oh and Chung Yong-Lee but neither came to any avail.

The attacking tactic employed by Argentina bore further fruits as Gonzalo Higuaín scored the second goal on thirty-three minutes.A free-kick on the left side of the South Korean penalty area was drifted in by Maxi Rodriguez, and Higuain at the far post was left to simply head the ball past Jung Sung-Ryong in goal for South Korea.

Five minutes before half time, Ángel Di María had a chance for a third Argentinean goal. After goalkeeper Jung could only parry a cross, Di María was left with the ball at his feet just ten yards from goal. The Benfica winger aimed the shot at the top-right corner of the Korean goal, but Jung pulled off an outstanding save to deny the Benfica winger his goal.

Just before the break, Lionel Messi almost scored what would have been one of the goals of the tournament. A superb run and pass from Carlos Tévez let Messi in to turn inside a defender and attempt an audacious chip on Jung from outside the box that fell just wide and over.

It looked like Argentina would be in a completely dominant position going into the second half, but a shock goal from South Korea on the stroke of half time put them back in contention.

Following a back-pass to Martin Demichelis that looked easy enough to deal with, Lee Chung-Young managed to steal the ball from the Bayern Munich defender after Demichelis took a bad first touch.

All that remained was an easy finish for Lee as he slotted the ball past Sergio Romero to make it 2-1.

The second half continued at the same high tempo, with Argentina aiming to play a more expansive game than they had before.

Lionel Messi had a half-chance directly after half time, as he dribbled his way into the box only to see his shot deflect away.

South Korean ‘keeper Jung had to pull off another outstanding save after a flowing trio of passes let Gonzalo Higuaín crack a close-range shot at the goal after fifty-two minutes.

A minute later Carlos Tévez cut inside from the left and blasted a low dipping shot at goal for Jung to save again.

Ki-Hung Yeom had a fantastic chance on fifty-seven minutes as South Korea began to break forward with more gusto. Yeom got on the end of the last in a series of quick Korean passes but could only shoot into the side-netting from an awkward angle. Both teams really started to play a more daring game after the hour mark. South Korea were on the lookout for a killer pass to find the equaliser but just weren’t lucky enough for the passes to connect.

The seventy-sixth minute saw a flurry of action, as a South Korean attack let Argentina counter and grab their third goal. Substitute Sergio Agüero released Lionel Messi, who streamed down the left flank and ghosted past two defenders before shooting.

Messi’s shot deflected right into the path of Higuaín, who only had to tap the ball into the net for his second goal.

Four minutes later, a similar move found Messi again on the left side of the Korean goal and Higuaín waiting at the far post. Messi chipped beautifully over the heads of the Korean defence for Higuaín to head in for his hat-trick.

Argentina closed out the game with yet more attacks, their attacking brilliance was a joy to watch. The Republic of Korea may look back and rue Ki-Hung Yeom’s missed opportunity early in the second half, the potential equaliser may well have changed the game.

The Albiceleste will secure qualification to the Round of 16 if Greece are defeated by Nigeria this afternoon. For South Korea, their World Cup future will now depend on finding a result against the Super Eagles on June 22.


More at nfsport.wordpress.com

South Korea 2-0 Greece

The Republic of Korea outclassed a lethargic Greek side en route to a 2-0 victory in Port Elizabeth. In truth, the scoreline could have been even more one-sided as Rehhagel’s much vaunted defensive tactics were undone by a tidy and ambitious Korean effort.

Any fears of a 0-0 stalemate were banished after seven minutes when uncharacteristically poor defending from Greece allowed central-defender Lee Jung Soo to pounce at the back post. A low free-kick was dispatched into the Greek penalty six-yard box where at least one of five Hellenic defenders should have dealt with the cross. The semi-empty stadium did little to contain the celebrations of the famously vociferous South Korean fans.

Greece had failed to score in any of their previous World Cup games, all at USA 1994, and relied heavily on diagonal passes into the Korean half. South Korea, as one of the shorter teams in the 2010 World Cup,  were obvious targets for lofty passes but their defenders showed impressive atheleticism and agility and actually had the better of Greek attackers Gekas and Katsouranis in the air.

South Korea were busy and tidy on the ball and showed composed containment when their opponents were on the attack.

Park Chu Young was set through on goal in the 27th minute after a lovely through-pass around from captain Park Ji Sung. A last ditch challenge from Papadopoulos and a fortuitous save off the boot of the Greek goalkeeper Tzorvas were all that prevented South Korea from taking a deserved two goal advantage.

Any incursions into the Korean half were dealt with effectively by an underrated Republic of Korea defence. They constantly sought to catch a sluggish Greece on the counterattack as their wingbacks  Lee and Cha broke free of their Grecian counterparts.

Win will be valuable in the quest to at least finish as runners-up to Argentina. The three teams are quite evenly matched and all capable of taking points from each other and potentially at least one of them may manage at least a draw against Maradona’s side.

As the teams emerged for the second-half, South Korea engaged in another huddle to recfocus on a task not yet completed.

They once again started brightly and scored the second goal that their performance deserved in the seventh minute of the second half. Vyntra needlessly gave the ball away to Park Ji Sung who strode past two challenges into the penalty area and slotted beautifully past the keeper.  When Park Ji Sung plays as well as he does here it is easy to see why he is so favoured at Manchester United. He has now scored in three consecutive World Cup Finals, a wonderful achievement for South Korea’s favourite son.

There was a palpable sense of frustration from the Greek players on the pitch. Torosidis encapsulated this with a rash challenge from behind earning himself a yellow card in the process.

Greece’s late chances were limited to crosses which posed little trouble for the Koreans. In fact it was not until the 80th minute that Jeung was called into action, showing good reflexes to deny Gekas who had very little opportunity to show the prowess in front of goal that allowed him to score ten goals in qualifying.

Even as South Korea eased off in the latter stages they still looked a far superior side both offensively and defensively. Throughout the game they looked lively in possession and could prove to be a more difficult obstacle than originally thought for Diego Maradona’s Argentina. The passion of 2002 seems very much alive in this squad, who seem more than eager to atone for a less than impressive showing in 2006.

As the final whistle was blown by New Zealander Michael Hester, the 11 Koreans on the field were joined by the substitutes who looked overjoyed at an opening victory. If they produce more performances like this then they may have further opportunity to celebrate as the tournament progresses.

International friendly results

England 3 – 1 Mexico

Portugal 0 – 0 Cape Verde Islands

South Africa 1 – 1 Bulgaria

Japan 0 – 2 South Korea

Argentina 5 – 0 Canada

Australia 2 – 1 New Zealand