It’s crunch time now at South Africa 2010 as two underdogs meet in the first knockout round. Uruguay have been mightily impressive in their play to this point. Oscar Tabarez’s men have yet to concede a goal and with Diego Forlan playing brilliantly and Luis Suarez starting to show his true ability, the South American team are likely to be a great bet to go far in the competition. South Korea have been inconsistent so far, starting out with a comfortable victory over Greece, followed by a thrashing from Argentina and then drawing against Nigeria in their final game. When the two sides meet in Port Elizabeth, expect South Korea to once again struggle against a fast, attacking South American team.
The South Korean team will be happy with the draw for the knockout rounds of the competition. Uruguay have been solid to this point but don’t look unbeatable. Huh Jung-moo will rely on the pace of Park Ji-sung and Lee Chung–yong from the wings to breakdown this solid Uruguayan backline.
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Uruguay vs South Korea Odds:
Uruguay Advances (-241)
South Korea Advances (+211)
The key to South Korea’s game plan is their running from midfield. The team excels when they dribble with the ball from their own half and play neat interchanges using the fast wing players to drive forward with the ball. They play a game that doesn’t rely overly on having the better of possession to win, which is fortunate in this encounter because Uruguay are masters are keeping the ball for long periods of time.
Speed will be South Korea’s best asset against Uruguay because the South American team don’t have the quickest defenders. Captain Park Ji Sung could be given a wider role than he has in previous games, giving him the space to receive the ball and then run at the defense from the wing. If they can keep up a fast tempo for the full ninety minutes, South Korea will come out on top, but if they burn out or concede early they could be booking an early flight back from South Africa.
Diego Forlan is the weapon that makes this Uruguay team so deadly on the field. The Atletico Madrid man will partner Luis Suarez in attack where, if the South Americans play this game correctly, the two star forwards should have numerous opportunities to score due to their strength and positioning, qualities that the South Korea defense really struggled against when they encountered Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina.
Another Diego, Captain Diego Lugano has been the midfield strong-man for Uruguay and he is the main reason why the team have kept three clean sheets to this point. He simply doesn’t allow opposition players time on the ball in the midfield area, which forces them to quickly release the ball, often to a waiting Uruguayan defender. Lugano is also well adept at changing the pace of the game when his team are ahead, altering the tempo of the action based on instructions from the bench. Uruguay’s main weakness is their over reliance on Diego Forlan in their attacking play. If South Korea man-mark Forlan, as expected, there will be more pressure on Luis Suarez who is only just recovering from a poor start to the competition and could get nervous if the missed opportunities start to mount up.
This looks like Uruguay’s game for the taking. If they can get the ball into feet around the penalty area, they will cause this South Korean defense many problems. There is likely to be goals for both teams in what should be an entertaining and fast moving encounter, but Uruguay look far too strong for a South Korean team who simply don’t know how to deal with opposition players who have strength and speed.
Uruguay vs South Korea Prediction: Uruguay 3 -1 South Korea.
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