There was plenty of talk heading into the World Cup of the “chaos” that Uruguay’s attack would bring, but they drew a blank against South Korea.
- Group H underway at Qatar 2022
- Defences on top as attacks lack spark
- Point apiece taken from stalemate
TELL ME MORE: Another goalless draw – a fourth of the group stage at Qatar 2022 – did not look to be on the cards when two team sheets loaded with attacking talent dropped. Uruguay, though, opted to field Manchester United youngster Facundo Pellistri ahead of Edinson Cavani and they lacked a clinical cutting edge. Veteran defender Diego Godin came as close as anybody to breaking the deadlock during the first-half, with his towering header from a corner crashing off the post. South Korean had chances of their own, with Son Heung-min looking lively, but Nottingham Forest-owned Hwang Ui-jo blazed their best effort over the top when left unmarked eight yards from goal. The second 45 fell a little flat from both teams, as South Korea dropped very deep, but Real Madrid star Federico Valverde rattled the woodwork with a long-range strike late on and Son drilled narrowly wide from distance.
THE MVP: Son has often had to be a superhero for South Korea, and he now boasts a mask to complete that look. Despite sporting a fractured eye socket that required pre-tournament surgery, the Tottenham forward was full of running and was never going to back out of any challenge. He looked the most likely to make something happen for the South Koreans, with one trademark cut inside from the left requiring Uruguay to put in some smart blocks, and hopes of progressing to the last-16 from a testing group are likely to rest on his shoulders.
THE BIG LOSER: Darwin Nunez has forged his reputation as a central striker, but Luis Suarez occupies that spot for Uruguay when they line up in a 4-3-3 formation. The presence of an attacking star from Liverpool’s past forced one in the present out onto the left flank, where he never looked entirely happy. The odd sight of goal did come Nunez’s way, but he was ultimately frustrated by some heroic defending, poor final ball or wayward shooting. There is undoubtedly more to come from La Celeste, but they need to find a way of getting Nunez into the game more and playing to the strengths of Suarez – who was eventually replaced by Cavani and is not the most mobile at 35 years of age.
MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:
AS IT STANDS:
WHAT NEXT? A point apiece gets Uruguay and South Korea up and running, with both now looking to kick on in their next Group H fixtures – which will come on Monday against Portugal and Ghana respectively.
MATCH RATING (OUT OF FIVE): ⭐⭐