Goals from Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez gave Mexico a 2-0 victory over South Korea leaving the Asians knockout stage hopes hanging by a thread.
From Korea’s point of view, I thought it couldn’t get any worse performance wise than the 1-0 defeat against Sweden. In that game, the Taegeuk Warriors became one of only two teams not to register a shot on target in the tournament. This was against a beatable Sweden team too.
Sin Tae-yong brought in Moon Seon-Min and Ju Se-jong and Red Bull-Salzburg’s Hwang Hee-chan, clearly the emphasis was on pace.
And early on Lee Yong of all people would’ve probably scored albeit for a diving block from Lozano.
Korea continued their bright start when Son Heung-min was first to a ball over the top, however, two Mexico defenders managed to get back to block his shots. Then Ki Sung-yueng’s header had to be tipped over the bar by Guillermo Ochoa.
With 25 minutes gone, Tae-yong’s side felt they had to concede a penalty, again. Jang Hyun-soo slid in an attempt to block Andres Guardado’s cross, but used his arm in doing so. Carlos Vela made no mistake with the resulting penalty.
Nevertheless, Son was always first to through balls ahead of the Mexico defenders, something that needed to be exploited in the second half.
Mexico came out firing after the break. The Tricolor hit a couple of shots over and Cho Hyun-woo had to tip Guardado’s effort round the post.
Unsurprisingly it was one of those deadly breaks which led to Meixico’s second. Lozano carried the ball into the Korea half before playing it across to Javier Hernandez. The West Ham striker to cut inside Jang with his first touch prior to finishing past Cho with his second.
Hwang couldn’t punish substitute Rafael Marquez who effectively played him through on goal, trying to square the ball with just Ochoa to beat allowing Marquez to get across and make amends.
But in stoppage time, Son eventually got South Korea’s first goal of the 2018 World Cup; shifting the ball onto him left foot before curling it from 20 yards past Ochoa. It was the first thing that came off for Son on the day.
Next up in Group H for South Korea’s it’s the small matter of current holders Germany, while the Mexicans play Sweden looking to keep their good momentum going.