Saturday, June 12, 2010

South Korea v. Greece, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Result: South Korea 2  Greece 0  Take Away: From start to finish South Korea was the better side.  The Greeks have to be disappointed with all aspects of their play.

5% of the allocation of World Cup tickets were not sold.  Not surprisingly an early round match between an Asian nation and one of the weaker European sides was a match that didn't sell out the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.  Announced attendance was 31,513 about 15,000 less than capacity.  Those not in attendance missed a one-sided affair that produced the first victory of the tournament.
Just seven minutes in Lee Jung-Soo scored off a set piece.  That was foreshadowed by a classic line here, when it was determined that Lee would be key for the S. Koreans. The free kick was taken just in front of the left corner flag.  The Greeks were caught playing zone and doing a bit of ball watching.  The in-swinger grazed off the head of one Greek defender, changing its path ever so slightly and J. Lee, coming in unmarked, was at the back post, five yards out, to bang it home.  The S. Koreans have scored 24 goals in their World Cup history, eleven off set pieces.  The match went to half 1-0.

South Korea essentially put the game away seven minutes after the break with a great piece of skill by Park Ji-Sung.  The Manchester United striker took advantage of a misplay by the Greeks just inside the center line and took off toward goal, one defender on his heels and one in front.  He showed wonderful touches on the ball running at speed, eluded both defenders and slotted it in the right side past the on-rushing Greek keeper.  Although one might not notice it because Park seemed to score with such ease, it really was a goal of great class and enhanced his reputation as one for the big moment.

The Greeks made a better showing of it in the last twenty and Theofanis Gekas rifled one that forced the S. Korean keeper to react quickly in order to parry it over the bar.  But the result was never in doubt and the Greeks still have not scored at a World Cup after going goalless in the US in 1994.  South Korea was worth the 2-0 result, playing a fast-paced and entertaining style, while Greece will have to go back to the drawing board.

No doubt the Koreans will be hoping that Argentina fills the tally sheet in the other match in Group B as it now looks like they will be battling with Nigeria for the other spot in the Round of 16.

1 comment:

pinto said...

Korea played well, unfortunately reminded me of a Cup game they played against Spain some time ago....they are organized, quick, good touch and can score. However, put them up against a physical team with skill, and their size begins to show their weakness...