I was born and raised in South Korea, and I speak the language as my own, so naturally I am rooting for Korea on this match. Korea has a determined, dynamic & fast squad this year, with two big-time players who are playing in the English Premiere League. This is the second appearance in the World Cup for Greece, with their last appearance being one of shame when they exited after 3 losses and 10 goals conceded, with 0 scored! However this squad has won the Euro Cup in the recent years in an upset, so it’s never safe to underestimate the Athens. Korea has a more solid history in the World Cup – this is their 8th appearance, and Korea has a solid history of garnering some wins in 2006 and 2002 World Cups. In 2002, the Korea squad advanced as far as the semi-finals to be defeated by Turkey 3-2 to take the fourth place.
This is the match I was really looking forward to – yesterday’s opening matches in Group A were just gravy for me, not to mention France and Uruguay’s match was a boring standstill. I am very nervous about this match, with great anticipation. I’m calling that Korea will beat Greece 2-1. I am shaking with joy, with butterflies inside me. Let’s bring it on!
After a close call by Greece from a corner kick that went wide, Korea responds with a free kick from the Greek corner (may as well have been a corner kick) which Lee Jung Soo knocks into the net for a 1-0 lead early in the 1st half!!! Korea also had another amazing break away chance when Joo-Young managed to get through the Greek defenders but the Greek goalkeeper was up to the task to lay flat for a great save on what would have made it a very quick 2-0 lead in the first half!
The Greeks seemed to come back a tad bit in the second half of the game – they had some quality chances, and they mounted up to double digit corner kicks for some quality chances. However it seems the South Korean defense as well as the goalkeeper are not allowing any easy chances, and the attempts are getting swatted away. On a give-away by the Greek defender, Park Ji Sung of Manchester United capitalizes on the break-away to beat the Greek goaltender on the far side to make it a 2-0 victory.
I gotta give credit to the Greeks though – even down 2-0, they kept playing with heart and gave me some scares as they challenged the Korea goalie several times, as well as force the Korean defense to make some desperate sweeps out of the defensive zone. However it seems that the Korean defense was well organized and composed enough to handle all those threats without conceding a goal.
This has been the best start that Korea has had in the World Cup Finals on foreign soil! A 2 goal victory for South Korea against Greece! Woohoo!
The Greeks fared well against a much more experienced South Korean squad. And I feel very spoiled to be able to say this – “experienced South Korean squad” – because there were times when all the Asian teams were complete underdogs expected to lose to any European or South American teams without question. The Greek defense often looked flat footed, allowing break aways and through passes that should not have been allowed. Korea on the other hand had a solid defense, and even some of the shots that Greece generated were not much of a threat to our goalkeeper save one. Defense in football is really about great positioning and taking the angles away, and Korea seems to be doing that well.
I expected Greece to have at least one goal in this match however – they are a hungry squad that has won the Euro Cup in rather recent years. So my 2-1 prediction was slightly off, at my own delight – a 2-0 shutout victory for Korea!