Mexico defeating Germany yesterday seemingly set the stage for a potentially pressure-filled showdown between Sweden and South Korea. However, what would follow didn’t really live up to that. If you like a match full of fouls, we hope you didn’t miss this one. But if you slept through it, we don’t blame you for that either. This wasn’t for everybody.
And that’s not to say Sweden didn’t create chances — because they did. But unlike Peru, who got mightily unlucky time after time against Denmark, Sweden often failed to make the right decision. By the end of the first half, despite a penalty shout, it stood 0-0. In the fouls department, Sweden took a 14-11 lead into halftime — with South Korea receiving the only yellow card. That’s right, we’re talking 25 fouls in the first half. Like I said, it wasn’t for everybody.
But the second half would continue much the same way — bodies all over the place, a half-chance for the Swedish side here and there. Then finally just past the 60th minute, VAR came into play. And Sweden will be happy it did, as they could only score when given an opportunity like this. Of course, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the incident in question absolutely was a penalty.
From the spot, Swedish defender Andreas Granqvist made no mistake about it.
Cool as you like!
Granqvist places the penalty to give Sweden a 1-0 lead over South Korea. pic.twitter.com/9qjZ9TQMCg
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 18, 2018
As for South Korea, they just couldn’t answer. Son Heung-min did have his moments in the first half, but couldn’t be found much after halftime. On a collective talent level, Sweden just have more than South Korea. Though, their performance Monday morning hardly showed it. But getting three points, regardless of how you do it, is huge. After all, the reigning world champions are currently on zero. That said, Germany should be able to rebound against both Sweden and South Korea based on this match alone. If not, there are certainly more questions to answer.
But for the time being, in a match with 42 fouls, Sweden got three points. They have an advantage, and that’s all that matters.
Now they get Germany next.