2014 Runners-Up Book Place In Semi-Finals

Italy survived the second-half dismissal of Antonio Nocerino to beat South Korea 2-1 in Rostov this afternoon and become the first nation to book their place in the semi-finals. Italy led through a Giuseppe Rossi brace, one from the spot, before Son Heung-Min pulled a goal back before half-time.

The match came into life with 20 minutes played when Giuseppe Rossi’s diving header got the faintest of touches to a Giovinco cross and the ball crept into the bottom corner. Ten minutes later he had the chance of a second when the referee consulted VAR after Davide Astori tangled with Hisao Saitô at a corner.

Giovinco’s delivery was initially headed away by Saitô, but collected by Astori who went down under a challenge as Lee Chung-Yong cleared the ball away. A penalty looked harsh on first glance but Saitô took all of the man and none of the ball, and Rossi subsequently slotted home the spot-kick.

South Korea, ranked 35th in the world, grabbed a fortunate goal ten minutes before the break when Son Heung-Min flicked his foot at a low corner delivery in by Kim Bo-Kyung and somehow the ball found itself past Forestieri on the near post.

Nocerino picked-up the first Italian yellow card of the game just 90 seconds after the interval when he was late on Kim, and ten minutes later he was shown a second. Antonio Nocerino’s challenge on Lee was a strong one but played the ball. The referee disagreed and showed yellow, then red, at the AC Milan midfielder.

Italy will play the winners of tomorrow’s all-South American affair between Argentina and Chile.

                  SOUTH KOREA 1-2 ITALY
                    HM Son 36     Rossi 23, 31 pen
                                  Nocerino s/o 57

                       TG Lee     Nocerino
                        SY Ki

World Cup Last 16: Australia 1-2 S.Korea

Australia had an extra-time penalty saved as a Park Chu-Young brace saw South Korea through to the quarter-finals. With the two sides making just one change between them from their final group match: Australian captain Erik Paartalu back after suspension in for Matthew Harper.

South Korea, in the last sixteen for the third World Cup in a row, took the lead midway through the first-half through a fantastic diving header by Park Chu-Young. In the first significant attack of the game, the Korean side switched play from left to right with Lee Chung-Yong eventually whipping a delightful cross in for the Atletico Madrid man to head home.

It was a lead that only lasted five minutes until Vito Ryan headed home off the crossbar from Dario Vidusic’s corner swung in to the near post. Ten minutes later, Mihovil Maretic slotted the ball home for Australia following great work from Graham Peach down the right, but the offside flag was raised.

The game went into extra-time after a dull second-half, and Park Chu-Young headed home his second, beating two defenders and Aussie ‘keeper Mitch Langerak to Ki Sung-Yeung’s cross from the left right on the stroke of the extra-time interval.

With five minutes to play, Luca Mavromatis tumbled in the box under pressure from Kang Min-Soo and Felix Brych pointed to the spot despite much protestation from the South Korean side. Matt Harper, on as a second-half substitute, sent the spotkick towards the ‘keeper’s top right but Jung Sung-Ryong made the biggest save of his career.

South Korea will play the winners of Italy and Russia.

                    AUSTRALIA 1-2 SOUTH KOREA (aet)
                      Ryan 28     CY Park 23, 105+1

                      Maretic     YR Lee

World Cup: Spain Win, Korea Stun Uruguay (A)

A first-half penalty won it for South Korea in St Petersburg to see them progress at the expense of their opponents Uruguay who had started the day top of the group. Spain’s comfortable 2-1 win over already-eliminated Serbia put them top of Group A.

Two unchanged sides lined-up against each other today in St Petersburg with the winners knowing they’d claim a spot in the second round. Park Chu-Young led the Korean line having scored in both matches so far, against a Uruguay side yet to concede.

Uruguay came closest early on when Nicolás Lodeiro crashed a 20-yard free-kick against the crossbar with Luis Suárez a whisker away from connecting with the rebound inside the six-yard box. Fifteen minutes later came the chance South Korea were looking for.

Villarreal man Ku Ja-Cheol floated a corner in to the box, Kim Ki-Hee tangled with Uruguayan defender Leandro Cabrera, and the Russian referee pointed to the spot. Up-stepped Lee Tae-Goon® who lashed it into the top right high above the outstretched palm of Fernando Muslera in the 36th minute.

Korea had a glorious chance to add a second in the 68th minute when Son Heung-Min was played through but his shot was saved one-on-one by Muslera and as Park Chu-Young walloped the loose ball towards goal, Ismael Gérez® got enough of a block on it to allow Muslera to claim.

As it stood, scores elsewhere were irrelevant and South Korea held out for the 1-0 win. They’ll meet the Group B winners in Makhachkala on Saturday.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP A (3)
                  SOUTH KOREA 1-0 URUGUAY
                TG Lee pen 36
                        JC Ku     Pereira
                       BK Kim

Just one change for Spain after their win over Uruguay, with Víctor Ruiz taking Javi Martínez’s spot. Serbia made a trio of changes with Slobodan Medojevic, Bojan Malinic® and Zoran Tosic all coming in to the starting XI erplacing of Dusan Tadic, Aleksandar Ignjovski and Zdravko Kuzmanovic.

A point would be enough for progression to the last sixteen, but Spain started the game after a win to have the best chance of winning the group. It only took ten minutes for them to open the scoring when Rodrigo forced the ball home from close range following good play from Thiago to work the ball across the face of goal.

Thiago was in sublime form all day for Spain, and his diving header crashing against the bar on 20 minutes when he really should have scored. Three minutes later Rodrigo slammed a shot from ten yards out against the same spot from another Juan Mata cross as Serbia were on the ropes.

On the half-hour, Spain got the second they deserved. Thiago and Mata were involved again, with the Chelsea midfielder pulling the ball back for Jordi Alba to rifle into the top corner from fifteen yards out for 2-0. Navas and Mata came off at the break for Spain as they looked to rest legs, confident of a spot in the second round.

The second-half was just 27 seconds old when Rodrigo went down in the box under a challenge from Maksimovic, but the Italian referee wasn’t convinced and Rodrigo saw yellow for simulation. Spain eased off the gas a little as both sides made changes, and were dealt a blow with ten minutes to go as Thiago was also booked, meaning he’ll miss their second round match.

A minute later Thiago took his frustrations out on the ball as Spain won a free-kick 22 yards out. Thiago thundered it against the crossbar, which was probably still rattling by the time Serbia went up the other end and pulled a goal back.

Krasic twice evaded Alba down Serbia’s right and sent a deep cross to Tosic at the far post. He headed it back across the six-yard box where substitute Marko Obradovic stole in ahead of his man to nod home a consolation. That’s how it finished, and Spain will play the Group B runners-up in St Petersburg on Saturday.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP A (3)
                        SPAIN 2-1 SERBIA
                   Rodrigo 11     Obradovic 83
                      Alba 31
                      Rodrigo     Malinic
                       Thiago     Medojevic

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

World Cup, Day One: S.Korea 1-2 Spain (A)

Super-sub Iñigo® scored the winner for Spain as they began their World Cup campaign with a win over a wasteful South Korea side in the Group A match in Nizhny Novgorod. The sides traded goals early in the second half, but a late goal from the Tottenham striker won it for the 2010 champions.

Spain started cautiously, and allowed South Korea too much time on the ball and it was the pacey Koreans who looked the more dangerous on the break. Lee Chung-Yong found it particularly easy to escape the attentions of Andreas Iniesta, but the Spanish back four were equal to anything lofted into the box from wide for the first half hour.

Spain were beaten but the woodwork wasn’t when Lee CY got away down the right and whipped in a curling cross which was met by the head of Manchester United striker Son Heung-Min, but his diving header came back off the near post. It proved the wake-up call the Spaniards needed though no opening goal came by the interval.

The second-half was just thirteen seconds old when Rodrigo drilled home the opener. Thiago played the kick-off to Pique who found Ramos, who knocked it down the line to Rodrigo on the touchline some ten yards inside the Korean half. He came inside and beat three before smashing a daisy-cutter in off the post past Jung SR from 25 yards.

65 seconds later, all level. Ko Yo-Han won the ball in a strong 50/50 challenge with Iniesta and Korea worked the ball to the edge of the box where Park Chu-Young played a one-two with Son before lashing home from 15 yards as Iniesta struggled to get back.

Spain began to tighten the screw and tested Jung in the Korean goal a handful of times but couldn’t find a breakthrough. Iniesta was replaced with quarter of an hour to play and reports after the match indicate he may well miss the rest of the group stage. His replacement was 21-year old Spurs striker Iñigo, earning just his 5th cap.

Within three minutes, his through-ball found Fernando Llorente whose shot was tipped wide. Thiago whipped an outswinger in from the right, flicked on by captain Sergio Ramos and Iñigo rose highest at the back post to nod home to put Spain back in front.

Korea pushed for an equaliser in the final twelve minutes but were unable to snatch a point. They’ll face Serbia in Luzhniki on Wednesday, with Spain v. Uruguay on Thursday.

                    FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP A
                  SOUTH KOREA 1-2 SPAIN
                   Park CY 47     Rodrigo 46
                                  Iñigo 78

Japan 1-0 South Korea LAST 16 (Match #49)


Japan are through to the Quarter-Finals for the first time in their history after a 1-0 win over South Korea in Belo Horizonte. The only goal of what was a comfortable victory came shortly before the interval when William played a nice ball through to Shinji Okazaki on the edge of the box, with the defenders letting him take a touch before slotting past Sung-Ryong.

The second-half was one-way traffic with the Korean ‘keeper making a number of stops to keep them in it, but Japan never looked like conceding as South Korean struggled to get out of their own half for long periods.


                   FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2014
                     MATCH 49: SECOND ROUND
                        JAPAN 1-0 SOUTH KOREA
                  Okazaki 43

                         Belo Horizonte