epa06818492 Marcus Berg (L) of Sweden in action against South Korea's goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo (R) during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group F preliminary round soccer match between Sweden and South Korea in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 18 June 2018.
Monday Jun 18, 2018. 16:05
Sweden secured a 1-0 win over a stubborn Korea Republic side in their opening Group F match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Monday afternoon.
The Blue Yellow came to the encounter having failed to score in any of their last three matches, while Korea Republic have not scored in any of their last two encounters.
However, it was the Koreans who had an upper hand in the opening 10 minutes but they could not trouble Robin Olsen between the posts for Sweden.
In the 20th minute, the Swedes fought for dominance and came close to breaking the deadlock when goalkeeper Hyeonwoo Jo denied Marcus Berg from close range.
Sweden showed great touches and movement heading into the Korean’s half, yet they could not be decisive in the box as they fired blanks.
On the stroke of half time, Sebastian Larsson would see his header sailing over the cross bar from a decent cross on the right wing.
It was 0-0 at half time.
Coming back for the second stanza, Korea attacked in search of an opening goal and it was Koo-Ja Cheol who threatened with a free header in the 50th minute but it went inches wide.
The Video Assistant Referees were called in to decide on a penalty after Korea’s Kim Min-woo appeared to have fouled Vikto Claesson in the box just after the hour mark.
After the referee consulted the VAR team, he decided to point to the spot and skipper Andreas Granqvist converted to break the deadlock in the 65th minute, 1-0.
The final stages of the encounter could not yield the desired results for the Asians despite introducing new faces to change the game and throwing players forward.
Sweden now sit joint first in the group with Mexico, whilst the Korea Republic have zero points along with Germany.
Sweden: (0) 1 (Granqvist 65’ P)
Korea Republic: (0)
Sweden: Olsen, Lustig, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Larsson (Svensson 80’), Ekdal (Hiljemark 71’), Berg, Forsberg, Claesson, Jansson, Toivonen (Thelin 76’)
Korea Republic: Jo, Lee, Park (Kim 28’), Son, Kim, Hwang, Koo (Seung-woo 72’), Ki, Lee, Kim (Wooyung 66’), Jang