South Korea show steel in World Cup stalemate with Uruguay

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar: In a match with plenty of grit but lacking a match-winning slice of guile, South Korea held Uruguay to a goalless draw, the fourth of this World Cup.

At the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan on Thursday (Nov 24), Paulo Bento’s men showed no signs of being overawed against opponents ranked 14 rungs ahead of them in the FIFA rankings.

Two-time world champions Uruguay (14th in the world) were semi-finalists in 2010 and quarter-finalists in 2018. 

Banging on drums and waving mini flags, the South Korean fans roared their team on as the players hunted down possession and harried their opponents.

South Korea would dominate the early exchanges and fashion their first chance from a corner in the seventh minute.

However, a Son Heung-min set-piece would elude all of his teammates.

His face shielded by a black protective mask, the Tottenham Hotspur forward and South Korea captain had initially been a doubt for the game.

Son sustained multiple fractures around his left eye three weeks ago and has been training in Qatar wearing a black protective mask.

The Asian side would continue to dominate play as the first half wore on but were let down by a poor final ball on a number of occasions.

Uruguay opted for a more direct approach in the 14th minute as a long ball found Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde. However, his half-volley whistled over.

The same approach almost paid dividends minutes later. Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez tried get a toe on a Uruguay cross, but failed to connect.

The best chance of the first 45 for South Korea fell to Hwang Ui-jo after good work on the right by Kim ...

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