Uruguay and South Korea played out an entertaining 0-0 draw in their opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Education City Stadium on Thursday. It was an intense end-to-end encounter but both teams lacked quality in the final third. The South Americans were twice denied by the woodwork. Although La Celeste came closest to scoring, it was the South Koreans who looked more fluent while going forward. The Asian outfit were consistent with their crosses and long diagonal balls and the Uruguayan centre-backs Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin had a busy day in the office. Meanwhile, the South Korean defence did a fine job to keep Uruguay’s highly rated front-three of Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez and Facundo Pellisri quiet for most part of the game. 

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Defenders had a solid game

Both side’s defence had a solid game to keep a clean sheet. South Korea’s Napoli-man Kim Min-Jae did a fine job to marshall his troops against a quality Uruguayan attack. Liverpool-man Nunez had an off day, having made multiple miss passes and lacked sharpness inside the box. Meanwhile Uruguay’s central defenders Jimenez and Godin dealt with everything that was put inside the box by the South Korean attackers. Jimenez set up some fine chances at the other end with his precise diagonal balls. Both goalkeepers had very little to do as only one shot was registered in the entire match. 

Uruguay denied by the woodwork

La Celeste were twice denied by the woodwork. The best chance of the match came to Godin in the first half. Three minutes before the break, against the run of play, the former Atletico Madrid defender’s header from a corner kick struck the bottom of the post and bounced away. And then one minute from time, Federico Valverde cut inside from the left and unleashed a powerful right-footed strike which rattled the crossbar and went out. Meanwhile, despite the dynamism and quality in passing, South Korea couldn’t cause much trouble to Sergio Rochet, the Uruguay goalkeeper.

Federico Valverde’s impressive World Cup debut

Valverde had a brilliant game in the middle of the park. The Real Madrid-man was primarily deployed on the left side of the three-man midfield alongside Rodrigo Bentancur and Matias Vecino. The 24-year-old ended the game with 80 touches, 89% passing accuracy, two key passes and three shots. One of his shots hit the woodwork. He completed seven out of 10 long balls. Meanwhile he was also pretty good with his defensive duties as well, making solid tackles, crucial interceptions and breaking the opposition play. 

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