Korea Republic will be eyeing their first win of the World Cup in Russia on Saturday when they face a Mexico outfit buzzing after beating Germany in Group F.
2018 World Cup
23 June 2018
Kick-off: 17:00 (GMT+2)
Venue: Rostov Arena
Referee: M. Mazic
Assistants: M. Ristic, D. Durdevic
Fourth official: J. Pitti
Mexico 4-0 Korea Republic (Friendly) 30/01/14
Mexico goalscorers: O. Peralta (37′), A. Pulido (45’+1, 86′, 89′)
Players to watch:
Korea’s star forward Son Heung-Min couldn’t inspire a positive result in their opening game, but the Tottenham man has shown his quality in the Premier League this past season and remains the biggest threat to the Mexican defence.
The Central Americans were led to victory over Germany thanks to a winner from young talent Hirving Lozano and he is expected to be their main attacking outlet once again. The 22-year-old is dangerous cutting inside from the left wing and will be looking to supply striker Javier Hernandez as well.
Team form and manager quotes:
South Korea come into the game on the back of a narrow defeat to Sweden in their Group F opener. A penalty from Andreas Granqvist was enough to see the Scandinavians clinch victory, leaving the Asians on zero points and desperate for a win.
Speaking after the defeat to Sweden, head coach Shin Tae-Yong told the press: “We really wanted to win this match. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t win today, but now our attitude is that we have to prepare ourselves very well for the match against Mexico.
“They are going to be a formidable opponent. We have to find our own way to face them.”
Meanwhile, El Tri are no doubt brimming with confidence after defying the odds in their first game of the tournament. A solitary strike from Lozano was enough to hand the defending World Cup champions an unexpected defeat.
“I told them to play for the love of winning, not the fear of losing,” Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio told the media after the win over Die Mannschaft.
“I always tell the players that I’m supposed to be the one who carries all the pressure. They just need to concentrate on the game and when they win it’s their credit and if we lose it’s my fault.
‘That’s the way football is and today they really focused on the beautiful game and they beat the world champions.”
South Korea will be missing experienced defender Park Joo-Ho, who was substituted in the first half of the game against Sweden due to injury.
Mexico have no new injury concerns and will most likely field a similar line-up to the one that beat Germany.