South Korea unfazed by Swedish spy game

Joann Johnston
June 19, 2018

"It was unfortunate we lost", he lamented, saying he was now focussed on the next game against "formidable" Mexico, who stunned world champions Germany 1-0 in the other Group F opener.

There was a short delay for Kim Min-woo's foul on Viktor Claesson to be analysed on video and for the referee to point to the spot before Granqvist sent goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo the wrong way.

South Korea is a shadow of the team that made an inspiring run to the semifinals 16 years ago.

Swedish striker Marcus Berg had the best opportunity to break the deadlock from open play but side-footed the ball into the knee of South Korea goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo from point blank range in the 21st minute.

Who knows what Zlatan Ibrahimovic, here in Russian Federation, was thinking as Marcus Berg failed to net in the 21st minute as the goal gaped in front of him and the Al Ain striker could only find goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-Woo.

Despite looking disciplined when their opposition were in possession, the Taegeuk Warriors hardly threatened the Sweden defence and it was not until the 52nd minute when they delivered their first real warning shot.

They should have equalised in the dying seconds but Hwang Hee-chan put a free header wide, spurning the Koreans' best chance.

He also stopped a powerful, dipping header from Ola Toivonen in the second half.

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Sweden then got the breakthrough their positive approach deserved after Kim's clumsy challenge on Claesson. Captain Andreas Granqvist slots it away!

Both teams' star players provided their creative drive, Son Heung-min trying to drive Korea forward from the left flank but again failing to have the same impact on the worldwide stage as he does in the Premier League.

Andreas Granqvist (left) celebrates with teammate Albin Ekdal after scoring from the penalty spot against South Korea.

Sweden, competing at their first World Cup since 2006 after knocking out Italy in the playoffs started the game with real attacking vigour and intent as they looked to start Russian Federation 2018 on the front foot. You can watch Live & Exclusive streaming of the match from the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium via beIN SPORTS CONNECT.

He had caused a stir before the match by claiming he had switched the shirts of his players' in recent friendlies to confuse Sweden because "it's very hard for Westerners to distinguish between Asians".

Andersson said his team needed to learn from Mexico's success against Germany and be bold and attacking.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the king of the national side for over a decade and his absence was much discussed before the finals. Berg is coming off the back of a fine domestic season, scoring 25 league goals for Al Ain in the Arabian Gulf League.

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