Port Elezabeth: South Korea will try to apply lessons learned in its group-stage defeat to Argentina when it faces another Latin American opponent â€” Uruguay â€” in the round of 16 on Saturday.It’s the first of two second-round matchups pitting Asia against Latin America, the continents with the most to be pleased about at this year’s World Cup. Japan takes on Paraguay in the other knockout battle on Tuesday.
South Korea fell 4-1 to Argentina in Group B â€” its only loss in the tournament â€” after a Gonzalo Higuain hat-trick and an own goal.”Of course we did lose against Argentina but I think it was a good opportunity to learn how to fight against Latin American teams,” Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung said Friday.”Tomorrow we want to play differently from how we played against Argentina,” Park said. “Latin American teams have shown great individual strength and we need to come up with different plans.”
Uruguay beat South Korea 1-0 at the 1990 World Cup when Daniel Fonseca scored in the 90th minute to put the South Americans into the round of 16.Coach Oscar Tabarez said he will bring Diego Godin back into his lineup against South Korea. The defender missed Uruguay’s last group match against Mexico due to a right hamstring strain.
It is the second time South Korea have advanced to the knockout stage in eight World Cup appearances. The other time was in 2002 when they reached the semifinals in the tournament it co-hosted with Japan.”We ourselves don’t have clear prediction of how far we can go,” Park said in comments translated from Korean. “But in 2002 we made it to the semifinals and I don’t think it was just because we were on our home ground.”In the first round, Uruguay won twice â€” 3-0 over South Africa and 1-0 over Mexico â€” and played a scoreless draw with France. The win over Mexico clinched top spot in Group A.
“The important thing is that we qualified in first place,” Uruguay striker Diego Forlan said.South Korea, the second-place finishers in Group B, beat Greece 2-0 in its first match, lost 4-1 to powerful Argentina and drew 2-2 with Nigeria. Argentina beat Uruguay twice in South American qualifying.Uruguay, a two-time World Cup champion, is bidding for its first quarterfinal berth since 1970.Forlan, who got 32 goals two years ago for Atletico Madrid to win top European scoring honors, has scored twice at this World Cup. All of Uruguay’s goals have come since Edinson Cavani was inserted into the lineup as a third striker alongside Luis Suarez for the second match against South Africa.
“We would like to offer more from an attacking point of view,” Cavani said after his team’s win over the host country. “We want to play in a faster, more intelligent style. We’ve got a team that really opens up when going forward.”Tabarez wasn’t totally happy with his team’s play, despite progressing from group play for the first time since 1990.”We had bad moments, but also good moments,” Tabarez said. “It was a lack of experience.”Both teams were asked by FIFA not to train at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium ahead of the match. Heavy rain about 10 days ago forced FIFA to begin restricting team training at the stadium, where five matches have been played.
In England’s 1-0 victory Wednesday over Slovenia, large chunks of missing turf were noticeable in the penalty areas. Before the match, England captain Stephen Gerrard said the pitch had some problems but he had “certainly played on worse.”Stadium workers were wheeling in chunks of turf and relaying damaged sections of the pitch on Friday. The teams later walked in to inspect the grass, with Tabarez jumping up and down at midfield, while some of his players did the same in the penalty area.”The pitch isn’t good. They are working against the clock,” Tabarez said. “The conditions aren’t the greatest, but it’s the same for both teams.”The winner of Saturday’s match will face either the United States or Ghana in the quarterfinals at Soccer City in Johannesburg on July 2.