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(LEAD) (World Cup) S. Korea hold Uruguay to scoreless draw to start Group H play

All News 00:18 November 25, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS details, photos)
By Yoo Jee-ho

AL RAYYAN, Qatar, Nov. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea held the favored Uruguay to a scoreless draw to kick off their FIFA World Cup campaign on Thursday, thanks to a combination of stingy defense and a bit of luck.

Uruguay, ranked 14th, struck the goal post twice in the teams' first Group H match at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha, as the side each took a point from a tightly-contested match.

Son Heung-min of South Korea attempts a pass against Uruguay during the countries' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 24, 2022. (Yonhap)

South Korea, world No. 28, first dodged a bullet when Diego Godin's header, set up by a Federico Valverde corner in the 43rd minute, struck the bottom of the left post and rolled away from the goal.

Then in the 89th, Valverde rang a hard shot off the left post to keep the match tied.

South Korea will be back at the same stadium at 4 p.m. Monday for their next Group H match against Ghana.

South Korean captain Son Heung-min, still recovering from facial fractures, got the start wearing his now-signature black protective mask.

South Korea had their best look in the 34th minute, with Hwang Ui-jo airmailing a shot on an open chance after Kim Moon-hwan's low cross found him alone near the penalty mark.

South Korean players Hwang Ui-jo, Son Heung-min and Lee Jae-sung (L-R) react to Hwang's missed scoring opportunity against Uruguay during the countries' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 24, 2022. (Yonhap)

South Korea have never beaten a South American team at the World Cup, with two draws and four losses.

Playing in their 10th consecutive World Cup and 11th overall, South Korea are pursuing their third trip to the knockouts, after progressing to the semifinals in 2002 and the round of 16 in 2010.

It wasn't until the 19th minute that the match saw its first shot attempt by either side, with Valverde's volley sailing over the net following a long pass from Jose Maria Gimenez.

South Korean players salute their supporters after a scoreless draw against Uruguay in the teams' Group H match at the FIFA World Cup at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, on Nov. 24, 2022. (Yonhap)

After a scoreless first half, there were even fewer chances in the second half. Darwin Nunez had a decent look at the net in the 81st but missed the target to the right, a few minutes after South Korean substitute Cho Gue-sung also sent his shot wide right of the goal.

Son's left-footed shot from outside the box after a Uruguay turnover also went right in the 90th minute, and the seven minutes of additional time yielded nothing.

Uruguay had a slight edge in ball possession and had twice as many shot attempts as South Korea with eight.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

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