Uruguay frustrated by South Korea

Uruguay faltered in their World Cup opener against a lively and energetic South Korea as they were held to the fourth 0-0 draw of the World Cup.

Both teams struggled to find the clinical edge despite plenty of attacking quality on show in their in Group H clash on Thursday.

Clear-cut chances were rare for either side at the Education City Stadium and although Uruguay created more opportunities, neither team managed a shot on target.

Uruguay captain Diego Godin and midfielder Federico Valverde were denied by the woodwork while South Korea forward Hwang Ui-jo blasted over the bar with the goal at his mercy, leaving both teams to rue missed chances

There were only a few hundred South Korean supporters in attendance but they were chanting throughout the contest, the beat of their drums matching the fast and frenetic pace of play.

"We're a very brave team, we're not afraid of our opponents," South Korea coach Paulo Bento said.

"The bottom line is we need to control all moments of the game, knowing we're in a different competition to our qualifiers."

South Korea should have taken the lead in the 34th minute when Moon-hwan Kim fizzed the ball into the penalty area and into the path of Hwang, but he could not keep his composure and sent it over the bar.

Hwang's teammates fell to their knees after his miss and they were almost made to pay for it just before the break when centre back Godin rose highest to power a header from Valverde's corner but it bounced off the left post and away.

Uruguay saw more of the ball and looked dangerous as the game wore on but found few chances to break through an organised Korean defence. Forward Darwin Nunez was a threat on the counter with his pace but endured a frustrating afternoon.

Uruguay manager Diego Alonso swapped one stalwart for another when he replaced Luis Suarez with Edinson Cavani after 64 minutes and the striker was a lively presence, almost connecting with Nunez's fizzing shot which flew wide.

The impressive Valverde unleashed a thunderbolt in the final minute of regulation time that struck the top of the post and Son Heung-min had one final chance in the closing stages but dragged his shot wide.

Tottenham forward Son was wearing a face mask to protect a fractured eye socket he suffered earlier this month.

Son played the full game, producing occasional flashes in a largely subdued display.

However, Bento said: "Son is a player that up until his injury had continuous rhythm. And then, in one of the last games in the Champions League, he had a serious injury and was inactive for a long period of time. He was only reintegrated in the last few days.

"After the injury, it's natural that it will take him some time to re-adapt.

"But overall, I thought our team had a good performance and we focus too much on one player."

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso said: "I'm more than happy with the result.

"I'm sure that this group stage will be determined by the last match. This will not affect whether we qualify of not.

"In the first 20 minutes, we struggled against Korea," Alonso said. "We couldn't take the ball from them. We couldn't get any pressure and lost precision.

"Obviously, the second half we dominated much more. We were better than them, I think, but we lacked a bit of attacking."

With reuters