Frustration for Uruguay in stodgy goalless draw against South Korea World Cup 2022

There look like three sorts of video games at this World Cup. There are video games in which the stronger crew beats the weaker crew (Spain, England, France). There are the shocks, in which the stronger crew is undone by an opponent that’s barely higher than it has anticipated (Saudi Arabia, Japan), and there are the evenly matched video games in which nothing a lot occurs (the others). With only one shot on the right track (plus two that hit the put up), this was very a lot in the third class.

The temptation is to give you a tenuous grand principle as to why this must be. There is barely any knowledge however, nonetheless, let’s indulge ourselves. Could it’s that every one three sorts of sport are the results of the shortage of preparation time, 4 weeks compressed into 4 days? Some sides, having performed in continental competitors final yr and cozy with how they intend to play, are nonetheless in rhythm from their home seasons and so hit their stride instantly.

Others might have accomplished with extra time to fine-tune, to attempt to generate one thing approximating to the cohesive kinds that now predominate on the membership stage. Aware of their shortcomings they turn into naturally extra risk-averse, defensive constructions being far simpler to assemble than the attacking techniques that may overcome them, and the result’s stodginess. And this was extraordinarily stodgy – or, because the South Korean coach, Paulo Bento, put it, “a really aggressive sport with a really excessive stage of play between two groups that revered one another”.

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This is a World Cup like no different. For the final 12 years the Guardian has been reporting on the problems surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the remedy of migrant staff and discriminatory legal guidelines. The better of our journalism is gathered on our devoted Qatar: Beyond the Football house web page for those that need to go deeper into the problems past the pitch.

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One of the nicest issues about World Cups is assembly previous mates. Usually which means journalists, or Belgium, however Uruguay have a delightful array of acquainted faces in order that watching them is like idly turning on a random snooker match in the center of the afternoon and discovering that Jimmy White remains to be gamely taking up John Higgins. There was Luis Suárez, scuffling round up entrance, an impressive irritant – though, given he managed simply 14 touches, maybe neither so magnificent nor so irritating as he was. There, coming off the bench had been the flared cheekbones of Edinson Cavani. And there, on the coronary heart of the protection, gnarled, implacable, half as previous as time, was Diego Godín. He even headed against the bottom of the put up three minutes earlier than half-time for previous time’s sake.

Matías Viña's attempts to score against Kim Seung-gyu
Matías Viña’s athletic try to attain fails against South Korea’s Kim Seung-gyu. Photograph: Alessandra Tarantino/AP

There was additionally Martín Cáceres nonetheless chugging up and down along with his man-bun. Of the Uruguay again 4, it was he who had probably the most work to do, with Na Sang-ho most likely South Korea’s best menace. It was from the FC Seoul ahead’s low cross that Hwang Ui-jo fired over after 34 minutes. The right-back Kim Moon-hwan sank to his knees in despair which, given there was at the least an hour nonetheless to play, appeared an overreaction – however maybe he knew simply how few probabilities there could be.

And Uruguay play in a pleasingly unchanged approach. Football might at all times be growing. We might now reside in a world of excessive strains and low blocks, of half-spaces and transitions. But Uruguay, for all of the discuss of the revolution wrought by former coach Óscar Tabárez, remained steadfast, at all times defending – even when there was a barely distressing second early in the second half as Rodrigo Bentancur, a product of Tabárez’s holistic method to youth improvement, carried out a figure-of-eight pirouette to extricate the ball from bother simply exterior his personal field.

Sometimes it’s stunning, as when José María Giménez dispossessed Son Heung-min with a scrumptious sliding deal with 5 minutes into the second half. But principally it’s simply barely irritating: why, after they have such expertise on the aspect, are they seemingly so reluctant to make use of it?

“We needed to match their stage of aggression,” stated Bento. “We managed to take action through the first half.” At the Asian Cup in 2019, the criticism of South Korea was that they dominated the ball and did little with it. The first half right here gave the impression to be following that sample, however Uruguay regularly started to say themselves as the sport went on. “We could not put stress on Korea and misplaced precision,” stated the Uruguayan coach, Diego Alonso. “We needed to change at half-time and had been in a position to defend greater.”

But they didn’t assert themselves sufficient to win the match, or actually to trigger a lot of a menace, at the least till Federico Valverde pinged a 25-yarder against the put up in the 89th minute. Avoiding defeat, maybe, is crucial factor in the opener in the group, however this was a sport in which it felt either side would fortunately have shaken fingers on a draw at half-time.

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