Uruguay had expected more from its opening match. Luis Suarez and co. couldn’t get past South Korea, which was allowed to thank the target wood but took a deserved point all in all.
Key moment: The late shot from Federico Valverde, who was out for a new world goal but hit the post. Kim – the keeper – got away very well.
Man of the match: Diego Godin. The Uruguayan defender and record international is still a pioneer at the age of 36. He also hit the post.
We will also remember him: Facundo Pellistri. Finally we saw the 20-year-old Man United acquisition at work, because the 20-year-old winger was not yet allowed to participate at his club.
Even more than Meunier, Heung-min Son looked like a superhero with his mask, but the South Korean Tottenham striker kept his superpowers hidden before half time. It was not the first half of the stars, because Luis Suarez also barely touched a ball. The Uruguayan attacker, now working in his homeland at Nacional, rarely showed his teeth.
The level of play was not dramatic, but it could be a bit more. It was quite nervous. The Koreans – with five different ‘Kimmen’ in defense – started the best, but chances were not forthcoming. For that we had to go to the other side. Valverde took a long ball with the right and kicked over goal with the left. And Nuñez then kicked next to the leather after Pellistri had delivered with the head. Special by the way, the base town of Pellistri. The winger plays at Manchester United, but no one knows that, because he was not allowed to participate for even a minute.
Ten minutes before the break, however, the 0-1 should have been on the board, but Ui-jo Hwang showed why he has not yet scored at Olympiacos this season. He kicked the flawless assist high over. 1-0 could also have been possible, but Godin – yes, the record international is still among them – headed a corner against the post.
There was not much improvement in terms of football in the second half, so Diego Alonso made a substitution just after the hour mark. Understandable, but we didn’t think he would take Suarez off first. The all-time top scorer with 68 international goals had to make way for another goal thief – Cavani -, but that was not very welcome. His trainer didn’t get a hand.
Already four times 0-0
In South Korea they seemed to be through their best strength, although Son still tried with a firm sprint and substitute Cho kicked a meter wide. Nuñez also did the latter and so we were heading for a scoreless draw – the fourth already at this World Cup, in fourteen matches. Things could have turned out differently if Valverde’s loiter had been pointed a few feet more to the right. The post prevented a new world goal from the Real Madrid midfielder and therefore also the ultimate winning goal.
Uruguay: Rochet, Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, Olivera (79′ Vina), Valverde, Vecino (79′ De La Cruz), Bentancur, Pellistri (88′ Varela), Suarez (64′ Cavani), Nunez
South Korea: Kim SG, Kim MH, Kim MJ, Kim YG, Kim JS, Hwang IB, Jung, Na (75’ Lee KI), Lee JS (75’ Son JH), Son HM, Hwang UJ (74’ Cho)
Yellow cards: 57′ Caceres, 88′ Cho, 90+7′ Varela
Referee: Clement Turpin (From)