Uruguay vs. South Korea at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa at 10 AM EST Saturday June 26, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: Uruguay 1.80 / South Korea 4.20 / Draw 3.40
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Uruguay -117 / South Korea +335 / Draw +220
In the first playoff match for the World Cup on Saturday afternoon Uruguay takes on South Korea. This was a pretty unlikely playoff match up, as Uruguay barely qualified for the World Cup as the 5th place team from South America and South Korea was the lowest ranked team in their group, which was pretty tough. South Korea got out of a group finishing second behind Argentina and ahead of African favorite Nigeria and Greece.
In their last group matches South Korea played to a 2-2 draw with Nigeria and Uruguay beat Mexico 1-0.
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South Korea won the time of possession battle (55% to 45%) and took more shots (16 to 11) and was very fluid in their attack the whole match and would have won if it was not for a penalty shot they gave up neat the 70th minute. Even though the Asian nation is in the playoffs there are major issues with the defense, which gave up a sloppy first goal and then caused a penalty allowing Nigeria to tie the score.
Even though Uruguay won the time of possession battle (59% to 41%) they had more shots on goal and scored the first one in the opening half, which saw them through. Uruguay kept up on the counter-attack and they will need to do that against a South Korean squad that likes to push forward.
Uruguay plays with a great pace and has a solid technique, but they have to keep the South Koreans from scoring the opportune goal, which they have done so far in South Africa.
Uruguay Recent Form:
6/11/2010 Uruguay 0 France 0 (World Cup)
6/16/2010 Uruguay 3 South Africa 0 (World Cup)
6/22/2010 Uruguay 1 Mexico 0 (World Cup)
South Korea Recent Form:
6/12/2010 South Korea 2 Greece 0 (World Cup)
6/17/2010 South Korea 1 Argentina 4 (World Cup)
6/22/2010 South Korea 2 Nigeria 2 (World Cup)
Diego Forln is the big gun for the Uruguayans up front and he will have to play well in this match. He is great on set pieces and on the run and he will take advantage of an open defense since South Korea likes to push up on offense.
Surez and Forln have played well in the World Cup so far and the South Korean defense will have to key on them. Even though they will be marked look for one of these guys to find the back of the net in this match.
The South Koreans controlled the first half of the Nigeria match and Uruguay cannot allow that to happen. Their midfielders will have to play well and not give the Asian nation quick runs off the counter attack.
Korea plays a great team game when they get the ball on the offense and Uruguay has to keep that from happening.
The Uruguayan strikers are amongst the best in South Africa, and will pose a threat to any defender and South Korea is not known for their defense and that may hurt them.
Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung has played well and has opened up space for his teammates, but look for him to be stymied in this match, as Uruguay will not allow him to have space and will make the other player beat them.
South Korea advanced to the knockout phase even though they gave up 6 goals in their 2 group matches. If they can score a couple of goals they have a chance, but with their defense they have to score to win.
Jason’s Pick: Uruguay is peaking at the right time and they are the favorite in this match for a reason. Their offense is solid and they can create scoring chances, especially off the counter attack, their defense is mediocre at best. Uruguay will take advance of the exposed South Korea offense and win this match by a score of 1-0 or 2-0.