Sweden fully deserved to win a forgettable game. The goal came from a VAR penalty, finished calmly by Andres Granqvist. There are going to be a helluva lot of penalties iun this tournament.
Full time: Sweden 1-0 South Korea
90+4 min Son plays it short, gets it back and drives a cross into the area. Korea appeal for handball after a bit of pinball, but the referee ignores them. It did hit the arm of Thelin, though there wasn’t much he could do to avoid Granqvist’s attempted clearance.
90+3 min Svensson, unaware of what’s behind him, gives away a needless corner...
90+2 min: Hwang misses a great chance! That came out of nothing, from a deep left-wing cross. It was headed dangerously back across goal by Lee Jae-sung, and Hwang planted a header wide from 10 yards. That was an excellent opportunity. I put the farm on a 1-1 draw you eejit!
90+1 min There will be four minutes of added time.
90 min Sweden have declared at 1-0. They’ve barely bothered to attack in the last 10 minutes. There’s always a degree of risk in such tactics but they do look very comfortable defensively.
88 min Lee Yong breaks down the right, looks up and sees two Koreans and six Swedes in the box. They’re 1-0 down with two minutes to go!
86 min Korea continue to jab away at Sweden, but the punches aren’t registering. They look a pretty poor side.
84 min “Hi Rob,” says Mike Crockett. “There’s a truth about VAR that you can’t get away from - you could have an infinite number of video referees looking at an infinite number of television replays and it will always be a subjective interpretation at the end of the process. In contact sports, even slow motion replays can make a good challenge look like an intentional foul , and conversely, an intentional foul look like a great defensive tackle. Like everything else, it will either reach a tipping point where it’s generally viewed as good for the game, or it will be quietly (or not so quietly) dropped. Does anyone remember kick-ins instead of throw-ins?”
Yes, this is a much smaller problem in cricket, where DRS (the VAR equivalent) works pretty well. I suspect they’ll eventually find a method that works but there’s no guarantee. What they should done is put their toy back in the box and trial it as often as possible with a view to using it in 2022 or 2026. But it’s all politics and nonsense, really; nobody cares about the football.
GOAL! Sweden 1-0 South Korea (Granqvist 65 pen)
Granqvist, the big, bearded centre-back, scores coolly from the spot.
64 min I think that’s the correct decision. VAR has been a shambles but it worked well there.1
PENALTY TO SWEDEN
It was a desperate tackle by Kim Min-woo on Claesson - and a penalty has been given!
Sweden have demanded a penalty. It wasn’t given but the referee is looking at it.
61 min Claesson is booked for a lunge at Hwang.
59 min This is threatening to become an exciting game. Hwang robs Granqvist, who was trying to see the ball out for a corner, and moves into the box from the right. He tries to slide the ball across the six-yard box and Jansson makes a vital interception at the near post.
57 min “Some of the missing Swedish fans are stranded in the Arlanda airport,” says Joao Caetano.
56 min The free-kick leads another Sweden chance. Larsson’s dangerous inswinging cross is headed towards goal by Jansson at the near post, and Cho Hyun-woo gets down smartly to shovel it away.
56 min Replays show that Hwang kicked Augustinsson in the back while he was lying on the floor. Some referees would have sent him off for that, though I do think he was trying to get to the ball. He just did it very stupidly.
55 min Hwang Hee-chan is booked for a brainless foul on Augustinsson.
54 min This is a good spell for South Korea, perhaps their best of the match.
52 min Now Koo-Ja cheol almost stamps on Sweden, flashing a header into the side netting at the near post from Kim Min-woo’s sharp cross. That was a good effort.
51 min Larsson stamps on the back of Koo Ja-cheol’s leg. I suspect it was accidental, though can never be sure with these things. It isn’t referred to VAR.
50 min There will come a time, probably in the year 2034, when we’ll be nostalgic about this game. Let the record that show nostalgia will be unmerited
49 min Another chance for Sweden. Claesson breaks beyond the defence in the inside-right channel and cuts the ball back to Forsberg, 20 yards from goal. He moves the ball purposefully onto his right foot – and then whips a curler miles over the bar.
48 min Nothing to report thus far in the second half.
46 min Peep peep! Sweden begin the second half of this probably-must-win match.
“Is it me,” says Clive Hollingshead, “or have many supporters of both countries dressed up as blue seats?”
I wouldn’t spread rumours like that if I were you. Every game has been a sellout.
45+2 min Another chance for Sweden. The ball was worked neatly across the field to Lustig, who curled a fine cross into the area. Claesson got between two defenders but mistimed his header onto the head of a Korean defender and over the bar.
45 min “Not wanting to be a naysayer and all,” says Amod Paranjape. “But have you guys looked at who is going to referee the England game??”
No. Is it Jean-Claude Juncker?
44 min A corner breaks to Granqvist, who shoots tamely at Cho Hyun-woo from the edge of the area.
43 min Now Sweden appeal for a penalty after a challenge from Ki on Toivonen. Again he got the ball. Moments before that, Berg mishit a shot across the face of goal from a tight angle.
42 min Korea appeal unsuccessfully for a penalty after a challenge by Augustinsson on Son (try saying that after etc). I’m pretty sure he got something on the ball and there’s no VAR action.
41 min This is poor. Sweden have been the better team, but only in the sense that gout is better than gangrene.
38 min Lee Jae-sung cuts in from the right and hits a shot that is blocked. Sweden are unhappy because the chance came after an unpunished foul on Forsberg.
37 min “Hi Rob,” says David Seare. “Great tackle by the S.Korean defender. But surely it was a pen since the France VAR decision was the same?”
Don’t get me started on that shambles.
35 min Son skins the lumbering Granqvist down the right and charges into the box. He tries to cut the ball back to Hwang, but Granqvist wheezes into position to make a good interception at the near post.
34 min The scoreline is more down to a lack of quality than a lack of intent. I think both teams accept they probably need to win this.
32 min “The problem with Swedish teams is that you can get far by being well organized, hard-working and a good collective, but you don’t (usually) go far in tournaments without some top quality somewhere on the pitch,” says Thomas Krantz. “The Swedish collective consciousness is very good at producing the former, but not the latter.”
31 min Granqvist is lucky not to be booked for a sly, cynical foul on the breaking Son Heung-min.
30 min “I have to say, Rob, this doesn’t exactly get the juices or romanticism flowing in the way it would’ve done back in the Hiddink years,” says Guy Hornsby. “It feels a long way from 2002, as evidenced by the grey in my beard and the ennui in my lif e. I’m sure we’ll get the usual industry and organisation, but not much inspiration. Though surely a result for one team will spice things up for Germany? I’m still getting over someone with a first name of Pontus. I bet RE was a bantz-fest™ when he was a lad.”
2002 was wonderful, wasn’t it. The actual football was mostly muck, I’ll give you that, but I’d sell my soul to relive the whole experience.
29 min Another chance for Berg! A deep corner from Larsson bounces off a couple of players and fell nicely for Berg eight yards out. He connected well with a left-footed snapshot but Kim Young-gwon flew across the area to make his second goal-saving tackle of the match.
29 min Kim Min-woo replaces Park Joo-ho, who is being helped down the tunnel on a stretcher. It looks like a hamstring or muscle tear.
28 min Park Joo-ho lands awkwardly after a header and is in a lot of pain. His game is over.
27 min TIf you like it then you shoulda put the farm on it.
26 min It’s going to be 0-0 isn’t it.
25 min Nothing much is happening.
23 min “Rob,” says Hubert O’Hearn. “I’m quite looking forward to a free kick or corner later in this match to see what South Korea’s secret training is all about. I’m hoping it involves a simulation of the chess scene from Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, players lined up in a Z formation to mock Zlatan, and a denunciation of socialism… It’s just going to be a short corner that leads to nothing, now isn’t it?”
21 min: Cho Hyun-woo makes a spectacular save from Berg! A loose ball rolled across the box to Berg, eight yards out, and his sidefooted shot was somehow blocked by Cho, who charged across his line and saved with his legs. He then sprang to his feet to punch the loose ball to safety. It was brilliant keeping, though Berg should have given him no chance.
20 min After a sluggish start, Sweden are starting to have more of the game.
18 min Kim Young-gwon makes a vital challenge. Granqvist rumbled followed from the halfway line like an earthier Beckenbauer and played the ball to Berg on the edge of the area. He backflicked a lovely return ball into the area, where Granqvist was about to shoot before Kim Young-gwon came across to make a superb sliding
17 min “It’s nice to see John Guidetti at a World Cup, given that it looked like for a while he’d be permanently sidelined following a horrible nerve infection,” says Kári Tulinius. “Hopefully he’ll come on because whenever I’ve seen him play he’s looked so happy to be playing. And at his best he’s the dictionary definition of irrepressible.”
16 min A lovely long pass finds Son on the left wing, one against one with Jansson. He tries to twist him inside out but Jansson expertly wins the ball back.
13 min Sweden’s first half-chance. Claesson on the right plays a decent ball into the box for Berg, whose low pass across the face of goal is kicked clear by Lee Yong.
13 min Kim Shin-wook is booked for a lunge at Ekdal. He won the ball but followed through with his studs into Ekdal’s shin.
12 min South Korea continue to dominate possession, though neither side has yet threatened to create anything.
11 min Brad McMillan is a visionary.
10 min Put the farm on a 0-0.
9 min “Hello,” says Tony Campisi. “Following the MBM from the office in Lafayette Louisiana. 7am here and looking for a South Koreadraw today. Being Italian, this WC is quite a relaxing event without my side in it.”
An abstainer is never disappointed, eh.
8 min Korea are starting to play some vaguely promising football. They’ve certainly started better than Sweden.
6 min “Let’s fire up the infallible World Cup predictor I completed before a ball was kicked,” says Stu Morphet. “I’m pleased to announce that today will be Sweden 2-0 South Korea. Definitely 100 per cent accurate so far. Not four results out of 12 with no correct scores...”
5 min Hwang scurries down the right to win a corner for South Korea. It’s curled deep and punched away by Olsen.
4 min It’s been a slow start to the game, with precisely nothing of note to report.
2 min “I love that New Zealand were the only undefeated team in the 2010 World Cup,” says Brad McMillan. “But, such are my feelings about Sweden in international tournaments, I’m always amazed they haven’t had the same distinction, before or since. Maybe it’s an England-supporter thing, but they just have ‘draw’ written all over them. As such, I agree with your 1-1 prediction, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the first 0-0 of the tournament.”
That’s not a bad shout. You can get odds of 15/2 on that score. Put the farm on it!
[Legal disclaimer: the Guardian is not actually encouraging you to put the farm, or anything else, on a 0-0 draw.]
1 min Peep peep! South Korea, in white, get the match under way. Sweden are in yellow.
Victor Lindelof is sick – no, not in that sense - so Pontus Jansson comes into the Sweden side. The South Korea is officially as below, though they could all be wearing different numbers to confuse the Swedes.
Sweden (4-4-2) Olsen; Lustig, Granqvist, Jansson, Augustinsson; Claesson, Ekdal, Larsson, Forsberg; Toivonen, Berg.
South Korea (4-3-3) Cho Hyun-woo; Lee Yong, Park Joo-ho; Kim Young-gwon, Jang Hyun-soo; Koo Ja-cheol, Ki Sung-yueng, Lee Jae-sung; Son Heung-min, Kim Shin-wook, Hwang Hee-chan.
Referee Joel Aguilar (El Salvador).
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Sweden v South Korea in Group E. These are two of the more likeable, inoffensive teams at any World Cup – so of course there’s been a spying controversy in the build-up. You can read all about it here.
Right, enough of that, let’s proceed to the football. The common attitude before the first game of a World Cup is to make sure you don’t lose – but this is arguably a must-win game for both teams. Mexico’s win over Germany has disturbed the natural order of the group, and Sweden and South Korea are likely to feel the force of Germany’s reaction to that defeat. With Mexico already on three points and Germany likely to finish on six, even a draw today would leave Sweden and South Korea under a fair bit of pressure.
I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? I don’t know why, at every World Cup, we mentally fill in the wallchart and are then surprised when every single match doesn’t go according to plan.
Let’s deal what has happened rather than what might happen. Sweden surprised the world, but probably not themselves, by beating Italy in a play-off to reach this tournament for the first time since 2006, while South Korea sneaked through ahead of Syria and Uzbekistan.
South Korea have enriched the World Cup in modern times, particularly in 1986, 1994 and 2002, but this doesn’t look like a vintage side. Mind you, you could say the same about Sweden. For the first time since 1992, they go into a tournament without Henrik Larsson or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They are a decent team, but one without stars. You don’t need to spy on them to know t