Uruguay 0-0 South Korea: Tenacious South Korea performance denies Uruguay
AL RAYYAN, QATAR - NOVEMBER 24: Matias Vina of Uruguay challenges Gue-sung Cho of Korea Republic Republic during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Uruguay and Korea Republic at Education City Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

A tenacious South Korea performance held Uruguay to a 0-0 draw in the opening game of Group H, with neither side wanting to lose their first game.

South Korea started the game looking the more dangerous, causing Uruguay problems down the right-hand side.

It was down the right-hand side, where South Korea’s best chance of the game came from. A low cross was fizzed in by Moon-Hwan Kim, which found the feet of Ui-Jo Hwang, but the forward fired over from close range.

Uruguay grew into the game and could have gone into the break ahead after Godín’s header came back off the post.

Heung-Min Son looked the most likely to make something happen for South Korea in the second half, with the Tottenham man having a few sights at goal.

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Uruguay thought they had snatched all three points late-on when Federico Valverde slammed a long-range effort off the post.

But the points were shared in the fourth goalless draw of the tournament.

Story of the match

South Korea started tenaciously, as they looked to impose themselves on the game, Na Sang-Ho looked dangerous down the right-hand side. 

Uruguay grew into the game with their first chance falling to an in-form Federico Valverde, who hooked a volley just over the bar, after a sensational ball from centre-back José Gimenez.

The chances began to come for Uruguay, after another wonderful cross field ball from Gimenez found Facundo Pellistri, who squared to the oncoming Darwin Núñez. The Liverpool forward was inches away from a tap-in, with Napoli defender easing him out the way.

South Korea’s best chance of the game came in the 34th minute, Moon-Hwan Kim’s low cross finds Ui-Jo Hwang in acres of space, but the forward is leaning back and his shot curls over the bar.

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Uruguay should have been ahead on the stroke of half-time, a whipped corner found the head of the experienced Uruguayan stalwart, Diego Godín, his header thumped off the foot of the post.

Surprisingly just the one minute of added time at the end of the first half. Enough time for Uruguay to manufacture one final oppurtunity, Giménez’s header steered wide.

South Korea again started the second half brightly, with Son almost getting in behind the Uruguay defence, but a well-timed tackle from Gimenez prevents the Tottenham forward from getting a shot away.

Jin-Su Kim thought he might have had a penalty when Rodrigo Bentancur brought him down in the box, but there was no VAR intervention.

Uruguay’s best form of attack was on the counter, a delicious long ball from Godín released Núñez down the left, who managed to get to the byline, but his cross couldn’t find Luis Suárez.

Soon after Suárez was replaced by former Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani.

Some good hold-up play from the substitute allowed him to release Núñez, his shot come cross was inches away from Cavani.

The final ten minutes were cagey, with neither side wanting to lose their opening World Cup game.

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Until out of nowhere, Valverde unleashes a thunderbolt from 25 yards out that hits the outside of the post.

Son was next to have a go from range with his low effort dragged narrowly wide.

Player of the match

José María Giménez

The centre-back was spraying long-balls about all game, which looked a real weapon for Uruguay. 

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The Atletico Madrid defender also put in a crucial tackle just as it looked like Son was about to pull the trigger. 

He formed a good defensive partnership with Uruguay verteran and former Atleti teammate Diego Godín.

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