World Cup Group A: Matchday Two Review

Uruguay and Spain kept their destiny in their own hands after the held each other in a stalemate in Rostov today, with Serbia eliminated after they lost 1-2 to South Korea in Kazan. Uruguay made just the one change from the 3-0 win over Serbia, with Lodeiro replacing Guerra in midfield.

Spain made three changes from the side who beat South Korea 2-1 last week, as Jordi Alba, Rubén Pardo and Jesús Navas replaced José Enrique, the injured Andreas Iniesta and Fernando Llorente respectively.

The European side just about edged it on balance of possession and chances, but in truth it was a game where both defences stood firm and resisted everything thrown at them. Botafogo midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro came closest to winning it for Uruguay, but Casillas reacted to tip his header round the post.

The 0-0 draw puts the sides in the top two spots on four points each, with Uruguay ahead on goal difference. At least one of them will progress to the last sixteen, and both will if they avoid defeat on matchday three.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP A (2)
                        SPAIN 0-0 URUGUAY                     
                       Thiago     Cavani
                         Alba     Suárez
                     Martínez     Pereira

Serbia made three changes from their defeat to Uruguay, with Pejcinovic in for Ivanovic as one of three at the back, Krasic replacing the injured Dimcic, and Sulejmani up front for Obradovic. One change in personnel for South Korea as Kang came in for injured defender Lee, going from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2.

A controversial early penalty rattled Serbia, and earned manager Sinisa Mihajlovic a trip to the stands in their 1-2 defeat by a South Korea side who know a win against Spain would book them a spot in the Second Round.

Italian referee Riccardo Di Fiore pointed to the spot with just six minutes played in Kazan when Neven Subotic bundled over Ku Ja-Cheol during a scramble in the six-yard box after Maksimovic cleared a header off the line. Lee Tae-Goon® calmly slotted home from the spot for his first goal in 32 caps.

The lead lasted just quarter of an hour before Lazar Markovic drilled home into the bottom corner from the edge of the area after being played in by Djuricic. Seven minutes later though, South Korea scored the eventual winner when Park Chu-Young nodded home from inside the six-yard box from BK Kim’s cross when Serbia didn’t clear a free-kick delivery into the area.

Matchday 3 sees South Korea meet Spain in Kazan, while Uruguay play Serbia in Moscow.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP A (2)
                       SERBIA 1-2 SOUTH KOREA
                  Markovic 23     TG Lee pen 7
                                  CY Park 30