South Korea holds Uruguay 0-0 at the World Cup

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Another favorite team has failed to impress in the early stages of the World Cup.

This time it was South Korea that held South American power Uruguay to a 0-0 draw on Thursday, a result likely to favor the Asian team.

The draw at the Education City Stadium was another early World Cup game with a surprising result. Argentina and Germany both lost their opening game due to major setbacks. This one hinted that he was another.

Uruguayan coach Diego Alonso said he was satisfied, as did South Korean counterpart Paulo Bento. Alonso sounded less convincing.

“I am more than happy with the result,” said Alonso. “I am sure that this group stage will be determined by the last game. We all know that the second game is crucial, and so is the third. But this does not affect whether or not we qualify .”

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Uruguay will next play Portugal in Group H, while South Korea will play against Ghana on Monday. The top two teams in the group advance to the round of 16.

Guillermo Varela of Uruguay, left, duels for the ball with Kim Jin-su of South Korea during the World Cup Group H soccer match between Uruguay and South Korea.

TUSEN Photo/Lee ​​Jin-man

South Korea, with striker Son Heung-min donning a mask to protect a broken left eye socket, always looked more likely to score against the more experienced Uruguayans. The South Koreans were faster and pressed from the opening whistle.

Many South Korean fans donned Batman-style masks in solidarity with Son, who was injured on November 2 in a Champions League match playing for English club Tottenham. He had a few early chances but seemed to tire in the second half.

“He (son) had a serious injury,” said Bento. “He was inactive for quite some time. He was only able to return to the team in the last few days. And of course it is normal that after an injury we need some time to adapt. But I think overall we had a good performance. “

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In a game with few clear scoring chances and South Korea often in control, Uruguay had the best chances to score: Diego Godin hit the post with a header in the 43rd minute and Federico Valverde hit the post in the 89th.

Alonso started an attacking line-up with Luis Suarez, Darwin Nunez and Facundo Pellistri up front, and with Valverde and Matias Vecino in midfield. But they rarely had the ball at the start.

South Korea pressed forward early on and Son excited the crowd every time he touched the ball, but he only managed one menacing strike in the first half. South Korea always looked faster than Uruguay, but not necessarily more dangerous. The team’s best chance came in the 34th minute when Hwang Ui-jo sailed an effort over the bar from close range.

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As the second half progressed, Uruguay began to gain possession of the ball, but always appeared cautious and took less initiative despite the more experienced players.

Son went down in a pile early in the second half, with Martin Caceres receiving the first yellow card of the match.

Alonso sent off Edinson Cavani for Suarez in the 64th minute as the pace of the match slowed until Valverde hit the post in the dying minutes.

“We had a hard time against Korea in the first 20 minutes,” said Alonso. “We couldn’t take the ball away from them. We didn’t get any pressure and lost precision.

“Obviously we dominated a lot more in the second half. We were better than them I think, but we lacked a little bit of attacking ability. I mean more attacking. We also tried to be more competitive.”

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