A confident Mexico will be eyeing their second win to seal a pre-quarterfinal berth when they take on South Korea in a Group F match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Rostov Arena in Russia on Saturday.
Full-time match report: Mexico, in the end, earned a comfortable 2-1 victory over Korea in Group F match at the Rostov Arena, despite a late curling effort by Son Heung-min which pulled a goal back for his team. Carlos Vela scored from the spot while Javier Hernandez hit his 50th international goal to safely take Mexico over the line in a match which they dominated.
Mexico went ahead in the 24th minute, courtesy a Carlos Vela penalty after South Korea's Jang hit the ball with his outstretched arm inside the box. Mexico had another chance in the 42nd minute when Hirving Lozano did brilliantly to skip past two defenders in the left flank, cut inside but put his shot up and over the bar. As for Korea, they didn't really threaten the Mexican goal in the entire first half, with their greatest chances coming whenever Heung min son was released by Korea's midfield. That happened twice. First, in the 21st minute, a long-ball found Son with two Mexican defenders. He went past them but just outside the box, he looked to cut and curl it. However, his shot was blocked. He made two other attempts but couldn't really threaten the goalkeeper.
Korea's best chance came in the 38th minute when Son was again released with a long ball, this time on the inside left. The Tottenham winger looked to control it but his slightly heavy first touch failed him, and, although he did try to poke it under the Mexican goalkeeper Ochoa from the byline, it was saved.
Mexico started the second half in the same vein, creating chances. South Korea went further in their shell. In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Hernandez put his effort over the bar and Guardado's shot was saved by a flying South Korean keeper. It all burst in the 67th minute, when Javier Hernandez scored from about six yards. The move started from a break after a South Korea moved too far ahead with their attack, leaving their back exposed. Lozano spotted Hernandez on the right who received the ball. Jang puts on a desperate slide but Chicharito slots the ball past Cho from about six yards.
South Korea got a glorious chance to level terms in the 74th minute when veteran Marcus played an under-hit pass back at his goalkeeper. But the Korean did terribly. Son, who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, tried to score with a fancy back-flick instead of round off the keeper, which Ochoa took benefit of and caught the ball.
Son did create a moment of magic late in the game when, in the 93rd minute, he received the ball on the right outside the Mexico box and pulled off a dipping, curling shot which flew past Ochoa. But that was too little too late for South Korea who are as good as out of the tournament after two losses in as many matches.
Minute 90+3 (GOAL!!): Son does it all by himself. What. A. Strike. The winger receives the ball on the right outside the Mexico box and pulls off a dipping, curling shot which flies past Ochoa. South Korea 1-Mexico 2
Minute 83 -- Kim M is substituted out for Hong.
Minute 79 -- Woo-young is shown the yellow card for elbowing Javier Hernandez while trying to shield the ball.
Minute 75 -- Carlos Vela is substituted with Giovani Dos Santos For Korea, Moon is substituted for Jung W.
Minute 74 -- What a mistake by Marcus. The Mexican plays an under-hit pass back at his goalkeeper Ochoa. But the Koreans do terrible and are unable to take benefit of the situation. Son is one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but he tries to score with a fancy back-flick. In the ensuing scramble, Ki catches Ochoa with an accidental boot.
Minute 71 -- Lee Seung-woo is shown the yellow for an ugly foul.
Minute 67 -- Guardado is replaced by MarquezMinute 67 (GOAL!!) -- Javier Hernandez scores his 50th international goal. Mexico break after a South Korea attack who are left exposed at the back. Lozano spots Hernandez on the right who receives the ball. Jang puts on a desperate slide but Chicharito slots the ball past Cho from about six yards.
Minute 63 -- Ju is substituted for 20-year-old former Barcelona academy player Lee Seung-woo.
Minute 61 -- Layuin Vela curls his kick from the right edge of the box but it is slightly over the bar.
Minute 59 -- Lozano is released through on goal with a long-ball but a last-ditch tackle from Hwang saves the day.
Minute 57 -- Mexico's Guardado does brilliantly inside the box and aims for the top-left corner but a flying South Korean keeper parries the ball out for a corner.
Minute 55 -- Ochoa makes a good save. Ki hits a curling long ranger from the left which takes a slight deflection off a player before Ochoa first parries and then controls the ball.
Minute 51 -- South Korea charge and Son Heungmin tries to take a shot from a tight angle. The ball hits the hand of a Mexican defender. The Korean appeals for a penalty which is denied.
Minute 51 -- Javier Hernandez has a lot of room in front of the Korean defence. But his effort is well and over the bar.Second half begins.
Half-time report: Mexico are ahead by 1-0 against South Korea in Group F match at the Rostov Arena in Russia. But they have been ahead in other areas too, including possession. Mexico went ahead in the 24th minute, courtesy a Carlos Vela penalty after South Korea's Jang hit the ball with his outstretched arm inside the box.
Mexico had another chance in the 42nd minute when Hirving Lozano did brilliantly to skip past two defenders in the left flank, cut inside but put his shot up and over the bar.
As for Korea, they haven't really threatened the Mexican goal with their greatest chances coming whenever Heung min son was released by Korea's midfield. That happened twice. First, in the 21st minute, a long-ball found Son with two Mexican defenders. He went past them but just outside the box, he looked to cut and curl it. However, his shot was blocked. He made two other attempts but couldn't really threaten the goalkeeper.
Korea's best chance might have come in the 38th minute when Son was again released with a long ball, this time on the inside left. The Tottenham winger looked to control it but his slightly heavy first touch failed him, and, although he did try to poke it under the Mexican goalkeeper Ochoa from the byline, it was saved.
Korea should look to use more of this tactic -- releasing Son using long balls that seems to threaten the Mexican backline. But Mexico are the ones in control at the moment.Minute 42 -- Brilliant from Lozano. He receives the ball on the left flank, dances and prances around three Korean defenders while cutting inside but his shot is up and over the bar.
Minute 38 -- Korea go on a break. Son is again released with a long ball down the left. He controls it but the ball rolls ahead of him. Nonetheless, he looks to tuck it under the Mexican goalkeeper who does enough to get the ball out for corner. Son has looked influential for Korea down the middle today.
Minute 33 -- Lee Yong is down and the medical team enters the field. The right-back was on a cruising run before he is tackled by a Mexican player. The Korean rolls over and looks to be in pain. The play is stopped for a while.
Minute 30 -- Korea get a free-kick just outside the Mexico box. Son steps up to take it but it sails safely over the bar.
Minute 27 -- Mexico nearly have another. Layun attempts one from just outside the box which is palmed over the cross-bar by Korea's goalkeeper.
Vela scoresMinute 24 (GOAL!!)-- Penalty to Mexico! Carlos Vela steps up to take it. And he scores. Mexico 1- South Korea 0. The penalty was given after Jang, who was looking to intercept a Mexico cross, hits the ball with his outstretched arm.
Minute 23 -- Mexico have a counter attack of their own.
Minute 21 -- A brilliant counter-attack by Japan as Son is released with a long ball. The Tottenham winger rushes between the two central defender, goes past them. He looks to curl the ball past the Mexican goalkeeper but his shot is blocked. Son makes one more attempts before his last attempt is out for a corner.Minute 18 -- A passage of fine passing play from Mexico in the Korea half comes to an end as Korea intercept a pass and go long but Son who is at the end of the cross is fouled by Mexico. Free-kick to Korea.
Minute 12 -- Moon lays the ball off for Hwang down the right who then sends a fine cross for Moon at the back post. Lee almost got there but Lozano makes a timely interception before the South Korean could reach it. However, Lozano has hurt himself in the midriff in the process. Brave stuff!
Minute 10 -- Carlos Vela is fouled by Korea captain.Minute 6 -- Mexico win a corner after Miguel Lyun is fouled on the right flank. Nothing comes of the corner though.
And,.. we're off..
-- South Korea are winless in their last seven World Cup matches (D2 L5), losing their last three in a row. (Source: OptaJoe)
-- -- Carlos Vela's penalty was the 14th taken at the 2018 World Cup; already one more than in the entirety of the 2014 tournament (13). (Source: OptaJoe)
Match Preview: South Korea vs Mexico
The South Americans were impressive during their 1-0 win over defending champions Germany in their campaign opener where they put on one of the best team performances.
Meanwhile, the Asian side will be under pressure after going down 0-1 to Sweden on Monday and are facing the prospect of being eliminated at the group stage in a second consecutive World Cup.
Korea head coach Shin Tae-yong will certainly be wanting something special from his side to keep themselves alive in the mega event.
The Koreans played well in their first match, but found the going tough against the tall, physically strong Swedes.
While the Koreans did well in the midfield, the well-organised Sweden defence coupled with the Europeans' physical advantage proved too much for them.
While most of the Mexican players do not have too much of a physical presence, their superior skills and tactical ability will present a different sort of challenge for the Koreans.
Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio will be hoping for a repeat show from his side and despite being known for reshuffling his lineup, he is not expected to make much changes against the Koreans.
Hirving Lozano, star for Mexico against Germany, scored the only game of the match and will be eager to go against South Korea to find the back of the net again.
However, despite having a great start to their campaign and being favourites in Saturday's clash, Mexico midfielder Marco Fabian believes his side has to still do a lot.
"We reached our first target and have beaten Germany, but we can't sit back," Fabian told the media.
"Some consider us to be group favourites now, and that's a compliment - but it's one we shouldn't believe. There are no favourites in this World Cup," he added.
On the other hand, Koreans after suffering a defeat by Sweden, would have to reconsider their 4-3-3 formation which handed space to their opponents in the first game.
South Korea midfielder Koo Ja-cheol said his teammates were preparing to tackle Mexico and had found striker Javier Hernandezas as one of the major threat.
"Of course we are not ready to give up. Everyone put in so much effort to get here," Koo said.
"What we want is to turn fans' disappointment into joy," he added.
Overall, it will be a herculean task for the Asian outfit to pull off a victory against the Mexicans on Saturday.
Possible line-ups: Korea Republic vs Mexico
Korea Republic squad: Jo Hyeonwoo; Lee Yong, Kim Younggwon, Jang Hyunsoo, Kim Minwoo; Ki Sungyueng, Jung Wooyoung, Lee Jaesung; Hwang Heechan, Son Heungmin, Lee Seungwoo.
Mexico squad: Guillermo Ochoa; Carlos Salcedo, Hugo Ayala, Hector Moreno, Jesus Gallardo; Miguel Layun, Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado; Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano.
Time: 20:30 PM (IST)
In today's Group F match, South Korea vs Mexico match will take place in Rostov on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 11:30 PM (IST).
South Korea vs Mexico match will be broadcast on Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 2 HD, Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD in English Commentary and Sony Ten 3 and Sony 3 HD in Hindi Commentary.
South Korea vs Mexico match will be available for live streaming on Sony Liv also. And Both Airtel and Jio would broadcast the FIFA World Cup 2018 matches for free to their respective subscribers.
Watch out for: South Korea vs Mexico
Son Heung-min: He was little off-colour against Sweden but Tottenham star will have the responsibility of raising himself for the game against the Mexicans. He will have to do better otherwise his country will be heading back from Russia after the group stages.
Hirving Lozano: He was the star for Mexico, scoring the only game of the match against Germany. The 22-year old will be hoping to find the back of the net again. He will have to link up play with Javier Hernández and will play a crucial role Mexico is to pick up back-to-back wins.