Sweden 1-0 South Korea: Granqvist spot-kick the difference as Swedes grab win

Sweden 1-0 South Korea: Granqvist spot-kick the difference as Swedes grab win

Sweden and South Korea met in the city of Nizhny Novgorod on Monday afternoon in the final game of matchday one for Group F.

Ryan White
SwedenOlsen, Lustig, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Jansson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Claesson, Berg, Toivonen
South KoreaH W Jo, Y Lee, J H Park, Y G Kim, H S Jang, J C Koo, S Y Ki, J S Lee, H M Son, S W Kim, H C Hwang
SCORE1-0, min. 65, Granqvist
REFEREEJoel Aguilar (SAL). Booked: S W Lee (min.13), H C Hwang (min.55)
INCIDENTSWorld Cup 2018 Group F game between Sweden and South Korea at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Russia

South Korea were narrowly beaten on Monday by Sweden, who netted a second-half spot-kick courtesy of Andreas Granqvist.

Despite a relatively strong test from the Asian nation, it was Janne Anderson's men who claimed victory and joined Mexico on three points in Group F - won by the single goal, against Germany.

This result now leaves South Korea looking at zero points with two games remaining of the group stages and a challenge against Mexico next, whereas the Swedish face current holders Germany on matchday two, but will be quietly confident following the conclusion of this encounter.

South Korea testing early waters

Sweden, without Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof in the line-up due to illness, were very much up against it in the early stages of the first-half as South Korea, managed by Shin Tae-Yong, were looking the more likely to score. 

Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min was enjoying his role within his country's team, playing out on the wide, and was able to whip in numerous balls into the box inside the first ten minutes, helped by a couple fouls committed by their opponents, but had little end product within the 18-yard box from his team-mates. 

Blågult boss Janne Anderson, who won the Swedish top division in 2015, saw his men slowly stem their way into the fixture as striker Marcus Berg was denied from four yards out by South Korean goalkeeper Cho Hyun-Woo.

Very little occurred during the first-half, however, Sweden were able to progressively grow into the match as they dominated possession up until the half-time whistle, but only briefly saw the ball in the South Korea box- Berg predominantly being the major threat for the European nation.



Devastation for the Koreans

It had appeared that the World Cup may be over for one of South Korea's players; Former Borussia Dortmund left-back, racking up eleven appearances for the German outfit, Joo-ho Park looked to have pulled his hamstring as he leaped for a header to keep the ball in play by the touchline, rolling off the pitch and was forced to leave the field on a stretcher, much to his nation's dejection.

A 'brick wall' defence

Sweden certainly do not leak many goals and that was proving to be the case as they defended against the South Koreans, who wanted to ensure they got an early goal in the second-half but Robin Olsen of FC Copenhagen was adament not to see the ball pass him in the back of the net during his country's World Cup opener.

Janne Anderson's men conceded just a measly nine goals during their qualification group and have only shipped two in five outings in the lead up to this summer's major tournament. 



Sweden lead from the spot

The very controversial Video Assistant Referee came into play mid-way through the second-half between Sweden and South Korea. Full-back Kim Min-woo appeared to have brought down Swedish man Viktor Claesson inside the box; the referee took it back to be reviewed and right so awarded a penalty to the European nation.

Despite the likes of RB Leipzig midfielder Emil Forsberg on the pitch, as well as former Sunderland and Hull City player Sebastian Larsson, it was veteran defender Andreas Granqvist who stepped up to the plate -slotting the ball down the right as the 33 year-old sent Cho Hyun-Woo the wrong way to give Sweden the advantage sixty-five minutes into the game.

The Sweden captain has now netted his seventh goal for the national team, in what was the ex-Wigan Athletic defender's 71st cap.