Missed chances cost Uruguay and South Korea as the two teams played out their fourth goalless draw of the 2022 World Cup at Education City Stadium on Thursday.
Hwang Wei-ju fired from close range before Diego Godin hit the post with a header as both teams traded punches in the first half.
Edinson Cavani came off the bench to replace Luis Suarez but no goal was forthcoming – Federico Valverde hit the post from distance and was closer both sides – as Group H opened with one point apiece.
A tight first half consisted mainly of a number of near misses as the speedy South Korean forwards seemed to unsettle the experienced Uruguay defence, with Jose Jimenez twice on hand to clear promising attacks.
Possession was shared evenly but it was Hwang who missed the first big chance, shooting well while running back eight yards from goal. It was a criminal foul and South Korea almost got it punished just moments later.
Uruguay’s corner was brilliantly met by Godin, but the former Atletico Madrid defender saw his header bounce off the bottom left of the post before being cleared.
The first half ended with just one minute of extra time, as Uruguay’s long ball tactics negated South Korea’s intention to counterattack at the break.
The two teams continued to investigate whenever an intense midfield battle broke out. Godin’s fine volley from behind released Darwin Nunez, who took the ball to the sideline but was unable to find a teammate.
Valverde hit the crossbar from long range before calm Son Heung-min rolled in, but for the most part the second half struggled to provide any drama.
Clear chances continued to elude both sides and action at Al Rayyan ended in a draw before Portugal’s clash with Ghana later on Thursday.
GK: Sergio Rochette – 6/10 – He just had to collect a cross here and there without any shots to save her.
Right-back: Martin Caceres – 6/10 – I picked up a reservation for a belated challenge on Son. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t show much attacking intent from the right-back.
Center back: Diego Godin – 8/10 – It’s unfortunate to see his header bounce off the post. Air dominant in defence.
Center back: Jose Jimenez – 7/10 – He made some crucial tackles and got some great passes from behind.
Left-back: Matías Oliveira – 7/10 – He should have easily snuck in Nunez but he slipped the pass. He was a threat in the South Korean box and made two key assists.
CM: Federico Valverde – 7/10 – One shot sailed comfortably early. He wasn’t wearing his shooting boots but nearly made the breakthrough from distance as his effort hit the post.
Midfielder: Rodrigo Bentancur – 7/10 – He started getting the ball more as Uruguay took the lead in the first half. He survived a short penalty and then crossed the midfield with some scintillating footwork.
CM: Matias Vicino – 6/10 – He faced challenges in midfield and was hardworking before being substituted.
RW: Facundo Pellistri – 5/10 – The Man United teenager saw little of the precious ball as Uruguay struggled to put attacks together.
Attacker: Luis Suarez – 4/10 – He struggled to catch the ball during the first half. He seemed far from the required pace and exited shortly after the hour mark.
LW: Darwin Nunez – 7/10 – Noisy throughout the stadium, looking to get involved in the action. He might have shot on goal had Oliveira not missed the pass. Half chance curled a cross in the second half.
Sub: Edinson Cavani (64 minutes for Suarez) – 6/10
SUB: Nicolas de la Cruz (78 min to Vicino) – 6/10
SUB: Matias Fina (79 min to Oliveira) – 6/10
SUB: Guillermo Varela (88 for Pellistri) – N/A
Manager: Diego Alonso – 5/10 – Uninspired tactics did not make the best of Uruguay’s vibrant forwards and elegant midfielders.
GK: Kim Sung-gyu – 6/10 – I got a glove on Nunez’s cross and scrambled well to get it back. There is nothing else to do.
Right back: Kim Moon Hwan – 7/10 – Put in some good crosses and make some interceptions.
Center back: Kim Min Jae – 7/10 – He suffered an embarrassing injury when he slid trying to shut down Nunez. Ignore him and continue to lead the defense.
Playmaker: Kim Young-gwon – 7/10 – He wasn’t very accurate with his long passes from behind, but he made several saves and involved Napoli’s Kim well.
Left-back: Kim Jin-soo – 7/10 – He gave Pelistri no time to settle in and kept the Uruguay right attack calm.
CM: Hwang In-beom – 8/10 – He saw a lot of the ball in the first half and Uruguay seemed to open up in the final third. Wipe the loose ball well.
CM: Jung Woo Young – 6/10 – Lucky to escape without a warning due to a late tackle on Nunez. High work rate but a bit technically unpolished.
AM: Lee Jae-sung – 7/10 – Only four of his 33 passes were misplaced. Defensively excellent, he recovers the ball well and leads his team’s pressure.
RW: Na Sang-ho – 6/10 – He showed his speed with a few kicks on the right but also lost the ball three times.
Forward: Hwang Ui-jo – 5/10 – He wouldn’t want to see his step back – Olympiacos striker It was To give his team the lead there. He went out in the second half without getting another chance.
Left back: Son Heung-min – 5/10 – A few loose touches here and there didn’t help Son, who was on the sidelines for most of the game. He created one chance from Uruguay’s mistake late on but was unable to score.
SUB: Cho Gue-sung (75 minutes to Hwang) – 6/10
SUB: Lee Kang-in (75 minutes for Na) – 7/10
SUB: Son Joon-ho (75 minutes for Lee) – 6/10
Director: Paolo Pinto – 7/10 – His team looked disciplined throughout, defended well with good creative options and was looking to beat Uruguay on the counter.