World Cup: South Korea look for strike power
South Korea were proud of their effort in the stalemate with Uruguay in their World Cup opener but would need to find the much-needed clinical edge when they face Ghana in Monday’s game, where both teams will be desperate for victory.
Playing at their 11th World Cup, South Korea began their campaign with a gritty 0-0 draw with Uruguay, putting on a lively display.
However, even though they created opportunities in attack, the ability to finish off chances was missing as the Asian side had no shots on target.
South Korea tend to over-rely on attacking midfielder and captain Son Heung-min, who is slowly re-adapting after a recent facial surgery and had little impact in their opening match of the tournament.
Head coach Paulo Bento was happy with the aggression showed by the team against the experienced Uruguayans and expects to see the same in their upcoming games — against Ghana on Monday and Portugal four days later.
The Koreans are tied with Uruguay on one point in Group H, which Portugal lead after beating Ghana 3-2.
For Monday’s game at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Bento will be sweating over the fitness of defender Kim Min-jae, who was struggling after picking up a knock in their opening game.
Ghana, the first African team to score at the global showpiece event in Qatar, were disappointed to suffer defeat at the first hurdle but could gain confidence from their performance against Portugal in the second half.
Ghana reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2010 but should they suffer defeat against South Korea, they risk getting knocked out in the first round.
Captain Andre Ayew has belief in his team, saying they always come out of difficult situations.
Al Rayyan: Cameroon and Serbia go into Monday’s Group G match knowing that anything less than a victory could send them packing from the World Cup by the time Brazil and Switzerland play later in the day.
Serbia are bottom of the group after losing 2-0 to pre-tournament favourites Brazil while Cameroon’s 1-0 loss to Switzerland means the African side are still seeking their first victory in the World Cup since 2002.
The match arguably gives both Cameroon, called the Indomitable Lions, and Serbia their best chances of opening their account in Qatar.
But a loss for either team — combined with a draw between Brazil and Switzerland — would prematurely bring the curtains down on their campaign, with nothing to play for but pride in their final group game on Friday.
Cameroonian Football Federation president Samuel Eto’o, the last player to score a winner for the country in the World Cup 20 years ago, predicted his team would reach the final but a five-match winless run since September says otherwise.
This is a fairly young Cameroon team with little to no World Cup experience, however.