Saturday 22 September 2018

Granqvist's VAR penalty helps Swedes taste success

Sweden 1 South Korea 0

Andreas Granqvist scores for Sweden from the penalty spot. Photo: REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Andreas Granqvist scores for Sweden from the penalty spot. Photo: REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Jack de Menezes

South Korea returned home after the last World Cup to be pelted with toffees by fans disgusted by their failure to win any of their three group games. It's probably wise for confectioners at Seoul Airport to start stocking up.

It took a penalty awarded with the assistance of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to break the deadlock, but the truth is that even before Andreas Granqvist's calm conversion, South Korea had never really looked like troubling Sweden.

The build-up to the game had been oddly tense as a result of allegations that Sweden had spied on South Korea's closed training sessions and a friendly against Senegal at their pre-tournament camp in Austria.

Deny

The Sweden manager Janne Andersson said that the coach sent to observe Korea, Lars Jacobson, had believed the training was open. Although he did not deny claims that Jacobson then stayed in a house overlooking the training ground.

The result was a tight, anxious game. Not until 20 minutes into the second half, when Kim Min-woo lunged in on Viktor Claesson, did the goal come.

South Korea's Cho Hyun-woo denies Marcus Berg from close range. Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
South Korea's Cho Hyun-woo denies Marcus Berg from close range. Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Referee Joel Aguilar seemed well-placed and initially decided Park Joo-ho had got a toe to the ball, an impression replays appeared to confirm.

There was a recklessness to the challenge, though, and it was presumably that, and the way Park followed through into Claesson, that led the referee, after checking the screen, to give the penalty. Granqvist made no mistake.

With a euphoric Mexico and a wounded Germany to come, South Korea should probably begin preparing for the caramel barrage. (© Independent News Service)

South Korea's Kim Min-woo brings down Viktor Claesson in the penalty area. Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
South Korea's Kim Min-woo brings down Viktor Claesson in the penalty area. Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Son Heung-min looks for a way around Sweden's Sebastian Larsson. Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Son Heung-min looks for a way around Sweden's Sebastian Larsson. Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria
South Korea players greet the fans following their defeat at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
South Korea players greet the fans following their defeat at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

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