Saturday, June 26, 2010

Uruguay vs South Korea - Preview

South Korea

14:00 GMT, June 26, 2010
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Following France's farcical implosion and England's potentially fatal failure to finish top of their group, Uruguay and South Korea know that their quarter of the draw has opened up nicely and the victors in Port Elizabeth will compete with Ghana and USA for a place in the semi-finals. It is a huge motivation for both countries as they prepare for Saturday's second-round tie.

Competition Stats

UruguaySouth Korea
GoalsDiego Forlán 2Lee Jung-Soo 2
AssistsLuis Suárez 1
YellowsDiego Lugano 1Lee Chung-Yong 1
RedsNicolás Lodeiro 1

Uruguay player to watch: Luis Suarez. After scoring no less than 49 goals for Ajax last season, much was expected of the lively forward and he looked a touch subdued in the games against France and South Africa. However, Suarez scored the only goal of the game against Mexico as Uruguay cemented top spot and will be a threat with his clever movement and impressive finishing ability.
South Korea player to watch: Ki Sung-Yueng In a fluid midfield that sees players interchange with ease, Ki has been largely overshadowed by his iconic captain Park Ji-Sung and the new great hope of Korean football, Bolton's Lee Chung-Yong. But the Celtic midfielder is a talent in his own right and a real threat thanks to his set-piece delivery, which has so far brought him two assists. With a penchant for the unexpected, Ki is a unique player but at just 21 years of age remains inconsistent.
Key battle: Diego Forlan v Lee Jung-Soo The tussle between Uruguay's premier striker and South Korea's most reliable defender could prove decisive. Forlan hit his stride with two goals in the 3-0 defeat of South Africa and, since leaving Manchester United in 2004, he has never failed to reach double figures in La Liga and the Atletico Madrid star is a formidable opponent for any defender. In Lee he comes up against the heartbeat of the South Korean defence, but also a player who is currently rivalling him in the goalscoring charts having netted against Greece and Nigeria. If he can finish the 90 minutes still level with Forlan, South Korea have a great chance.
Trivia: Uruguay have not lost to South Korea in any of their five meetings. The only World Cup clash between the two came in 1990, when Uruguay won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Daniel Fonseca. Tabarez also managed the side during the finals in Italy 20 years ago.
Stats: South Korea have been the most dangerous side from set-pieces so far in the tournament with three of their five goals coming from dead-ball situations.
Odds: Uruguay (1.90), the draw (3.40) and South Korea (4.50) with Bet365. Diego Forlan to score first and Uruguay to win 1-0 is 11.00.
Prediction: Uruguay are full of confidence after an impressive group campaign and should have enough to shade this game, but South Korea will ensure it is a close contest.

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