AL RAYYAN, Qatar – For the third straight day at the World Cup in Qatar, an Asian team can leave the pitch with their heads held high as world No. 28 South Korea held 14th-ranked Uruguay to a 0-0 draw in their opening Group H match.
The stalemate means South Korea, who are in a tricky group with tournament dark horses Uruguay, Portugal (ranked eighth) and Ghana (61st) remain with a shout of making the knockout rounds.
Both sides had game changers in their team – Son Heung-min for the South Koreans and the likes of Luis Suarez, Darwin Nunez and Federico Valverde for the South Americans – but blunt finishing meant neither found the net.
In the 22nd minute, Facundo Pellestri’s dangerous ball across the face of the goal was completely missed by Nunez, before South Korea striker Hwang Ui-jo blazed a shot over from eight metres out.
Uruguay came closer to scoring, hitting the woodwork twice. First, in the 43rd minute, captain Diego Godin saw his header crack the upright, before Valverde’s speculative shot from distance late on also cannoned off the post and went out.
All eyes were on South Korea skipper Son and how he would cope having suffered an eye socket fracture three weeks ago.
Donning a black protective mask, he did not appear to be affected by the injury although he was not at the sparkling best he has so often displayed in recent seasons for E...