WORLD CUP PREVIEW

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

WORLD CUP PREVIEW Thurs: Uruguay v South Korea

Uruguay are seen as dark horses for an outside run at World Cup glory and they can get their campaign off to a flying start against South Korea in Al-Rayyan.

The change from long-time coach Oscar Tabarez to new manager Diego Alonso towards the end of qualifying appears to have rejuvenated a side that’s won seven of their nine games since this arrival including their last four in qualifying to reach the finals.

Results so far have comprehensively proven that football is not played on paper –1/10 favourites Argentina were shocked by Saudi Arabia and 4/9 shots Denmark were deservedly held by Tunisia in their opener – but there’s every reason to be positive about the Uruguayans here.

This will probably be a last World Cup for Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani but you couldn’t ask for two more experience strikers and Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez – who ended his domestic campaign with seven goals in ten games – is an imposing presence in attack.

A midfield of Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde, Tottenham’s Rodrigo Bentancur and Flamengo’s Giorgian de Arrascaeta (with Matias Vecino also an option) is the equal of almost any in the tournament and the experience of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez is a huge asset in defence to boot.

Uruguay v South Korea
FIFA World Cup Group H
13:00 BBC One / BBC iPlayer / BBC Sport Website

LAST FIVE STATS

HEAD-TO-HEAD

OCT 2028 FRIENDLY South Korea 2-1 Uruguay
SEP 2014 FRIENDLY South Korea 0-1 Uruguay
JUN 2010 WORLD CUP Uruguay 2-1 South Korea
MAR 2007 FRIENDLY South Korea 0-2 Uruguay
JUN 2003 FRIENDLY South Korea 0-2 Uruguay

URUGUAY

SEP 2022 FRIENDLY Canada 0-2 Uruguay
SEP 2022 FRIENDLY Iran 1-0 Uruguay
JUN 2022 FRIENDLY Uruguay 5-0 Panama
JUN 2022 FRIENDLY USA 0-0 Uruguay

SOUTH KOREA

NOV 2022 FRIENDLY South Korea 1-0 Iceland
SEP 2022 FRIENDLY South Korea 1-0 Cameroon
JUL 2022 EAST ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP South Korea 3-0 Hong Kong
JUL 2022 EAST ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP China 0-3 South Korea
JUN 2022 FRIENDLY South Korea 4-1 Egypt

South Korea, managed by the Former Portugal coach Paulo Bento, have plenty of talent in their side. All eyes are on Heung-Min Son – last season’s joint winner of the Golden Boot in the Premier League – but Woo- Yeong Jeong has become a key part of the Eintracht Frankfurt team, Min-Jae Kim has played his part in Napoli’s brilliant season whilst Hee-Chan Hwang and Lee Jae-Sung have established themselves at Wolves and Mainz respectively.

However, there were big concerns over the form of Heung-Min Son before he a suffered a fracture around his left eye required surgery just weeks ago, and for all there’s a talented core to the South Korean team, Uruguay could have the man for man advantage with seven of their likely starting XI playing for clubs in the Champions or Europa League.

This will be a step up for South Korea – they were second to Iran in qualifying with the UAE, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon behind – and they faced Japan, China and Hong Kong in the East Asian Championship when they finished runners up.

This Uruguay side is capable of playing at a much higher level than those sides – indeed South Korea are winless against fellow South American sides Brazil (lost 5-1), Chile (lost 2-0), and Paraguay (drew 2-2) – and Uruguay are capable of starting their tournament with a win.

WILLIAM KEDJANYI


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PROFIT/LOSS (WORLD CUP 2022): LOSS 5.66 points (after matches on Wed 23 Nov)
(Will include returns from both the OUTRIGHT and SPECIALS previews too)


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