Sweden pip Korea Republic 1-0 after VAR penalty decision

Elena Summers
June 21, 2018

Jo did his job in goal, making a half-dozen sprawling saves until he was beaten on a second-half penalty by Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist.

South Korea coach Shin Tae Yong yesterday shrugged off spying by World Cup opponents Sweden, who apologised on the eve of their Group F clash after initially trumpeting their subterfuge.

Surveillance and misdirection has been a big part of the buildup to the Group F game in Nizhny Novgorod on Monday.

It was the third VAR penalty awarded at these championships after France and Peru also benefitted from video referrals.The win was reward for Sweden's more attacking approach, but it was unsurprising the victor came from the penalty spot in a game between the two sides who had only managed two goals between them in seven games heading into Russian Federation.

Centre-back Hummels said Germany had ignored the warnings from their shaky 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in their final warm-up game.

Brazil, and their star Neymar, made their bow in Russian Federation in Rostov-on-Don but gutsy Switzerland battled back to cancel out a Philippe Coutinho strike midway through the first half of the Group E tie.

Referee Joel Aguilar referred the decision to the video assistant referee, who confirmed that the penalty should be awarded.

The Barcelona man found the top corner with a stunning curled effort in the 20th minute but Steven Zuber headed an equaliser from a corner shortly after half time and the five-time champions could not make their superior quality count.

It wasn't a flowing performance from Sweden, but securing the win will come as a huge relief to Andersson and his team.

Head coach Janne Andersson yesterday issued an apology. The South Koreans never really threatened in a game disrupted by over 40 fouls. "It was a good game out there, an honest fight between two good teams". Kim Shin-wook, the tallest South Korean player at 197 centimeters, also got the nod as a starting forward up front, though he had been seen as a possible option off the bench.

Korea Republic pushed hard to find a way back into the game, but to no avail.

LA Galaxy striker Ibrahimovic retired from worldwide football after Euro 2016, but hinted at a possible return for this year's finals in Russian Federation during what proved to be a protracted commercial campaign.

The Swedish group may be stronger without Ibrahimovic, and the fact that this was largely the squad that earned qualification is worthy of respect.

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It was South Korea who got off to a better start in the first 10 minutes of the match as they attacked Sweden on both wings with a bit of success, while the European side was struggling to find their way into the game. It was a novel tactic.

Son also has an added incentive for South Korea to succeed this year, but this will require exceeding all expectations across the board. It may well be a little unfair to heap all the weight of expectation and responsibility onto the shoulders of one player. Son is arguably South Korea's best player in recent years.

Against Sweden, he was wasted. But he is normally No. 3 on the list when it comes to playing time.

South Korea did not learn their lesson from the first half and continued to give Sweden set piece opportunities.

He did get a chance to burst down the right in the 35th minute and sent in a unsafe cross, but there was very little of note from the 25-year-old apart from that.

Hummels described the defeat as a "wake-up call too late".

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