Uruguay 0 – 0 Korea Rep.

Uruguay and South Korea battled to a goalless draw in their Group H opener at the 2022 World Cup.

The South American side started with Liverpool strikers past and present as Darwin Nunez lined up alongside Luis Suarez, while Heung-Min Son was fit enough to start for South Korea after his recent fracture of the eye socket, but none of them could find the breakthrough despite a heated encounter in Qatar.

Heung-Min Son reacts after a missed chance in the World Cup opener between South Korea and Uruguay

That leaves both teams’ chances of reaching the last 16, as Uruguay prepare to face Portugal next, while South Korea meet Ghana.

The highlights of the game…

  • 34 mins: Moon-Hwan Kim finds Ui-jo Hwang in space in the box, but he shoots over the crossbar.
  • 44 mins: Diego Godin goes highest from a corner but heads for the South Korean post.
  • 90 mins: Federico Valverde hits the post with a ferocious drive from distance for Uruguay.

Uruguay hit the post twice but no breakthrough in Group H opener

South Korea came out with great intention and attacking effort, but lacked clinical advantage in front of goal. Their best chance of the first half came after 34 minutes when Moon-Hwan Kim found Ui-Jo Hwang in space in the box but he could only shoot over the crossbar.

Hwang Ui-jo laments a missed opportunity
Ui-Jo Hwang laments missed opportunity

Just before the break, Uruguay should have taken the lead themselves as Diego Godin rose high from a corner, but his header rattled off the post before bouncing clear.

Uruguay went close again towards the end as Federico Valverde’s ferocious drive just outside the box slammed against the outside of the woodwork, before Son came up the other end and deviates a little from its scope.

Premier League watch: Pellistri struggles to make his mark

Facundo Pellistri of Uruguay heads the ball during the World Cup Group H soccer match between Uruguay and South Korea at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

There were plenty of Premier League stars on display at the Education City stadium, but one name that caught the eye on the squad sheets was that of Facundo Pellistri.

The 20-year-old winger is yet to make a senior appearance for Manchester United but has been started and his eighth cap by Uruguay head coach Diego Alonso.

Lined up in a top three alongside Nunez and Suarez, Pellistri was lively at times but ultimately struggled to make much impact during his 88 minutes on the pitch. To be fair, he wasn’t really alone there. It will be interesting to see if Alonso sticks with him for the next game, or maybe he returns to Edinson Cavani’s experience instead.

Suarez slows down Uruguay?

Luis Suarez in action for Uruguay against South Korea
Suarez in action for Uruguay against South Korea

Sky Sports’ Adam Williams:

Luis Suarez has already scared all his opponents, and he remains dangerous, but his presence against South Korea forced his team to fight with one hand.

Physically, the 35-year-old is no longer what he used to be. The former Liverpool and Barcelona striker struggled to keep up with the speedy South Koreans. As a result, he was unable to enter the match.

This impacted Uruguay in two ways. When there was a chance in the box, Suarez couldn’t capitalize as defenders swarmed around him, and when the South Americans didn’t have the ball, their striker didn’t or couldn’t press. . This effectively left Uruguay playing with 10 players.

You can feel he was on the pitch to steal a goal in the box with his incredible instincts, weighed as a compromise for what he can no longer contribute.

The compromise, however, went further than Uruguay being a man down. It meant that others failed to shine as brightly as they could. Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez, since joining the Premier League, has terrorized defences, causing carnage as he drives through the middle. However, with Suarez in the middle, Nunez hasn’t been able to do that for his national team, confined to the left wing where, despite his best efforts, he hasn’t been able to get into the areas where he can be so dangerous.

South Korea’s perfect storm of pace, energy and counter-attacking excellence has exaggerated the regression of one of the Premier League’s most prolific forwards.

If the first World Cup winners want to progress from the group stage, they will have to forget the past. Not 1930, unfortunately, their #9.

Post-game stats

Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet strikes cleanly under pressure from Hwang Ui-jo
Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet strikes cleanly under pressure from Ui-Jo Hwang

  • Among teams that have played more than 50 games at the World Cup, only England (16%) have a higher share of goalless draws in the tournament than Uruguay (14% – 8/57).
  • Uruguay have played 465 minutes since last conceding a goal in the World Cup group stage, and this is their fifth consecutive clean sheet – indeed, Wayne Rooney was the last player to score against them in a group stage match (for England in June 2014).
  • There has only been one shot on target in this game (by Uruguay), although the two teams have amassed 17 shots between them – since 1966 (when this data is available) only Denmark vs. Scotland in 1986 featured more shots overall (27) with only one of them being on target.
  • At the age of 36 years and 281 days, Diego Godín became the oldest player to have represented Uruguay in a World Cup match. It was his 15th start in the competition; the most of any outfield player for Uruguay at the World Cup.

What does the result mean?

That leaves Group H wide open for both teams as they head into their second group matches on Monday, with Uruguay meeting Portugal and South Korea facing Ghana.

Sky Sports

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