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scouting

Korea's World Cup Adversaries: Uruguay


The 2022 FIFA World Cup is now close upon us in Qatar. However, the Korean Republic will have to wait until Thursday to play their first game in group H. Korea will be making their 11th appearance in the finals and the opening game will be against Uruguay in the Education City Stadium.

It will be the third time the Taegeuk Warriors will have met Uruguay in the FIFA World Cup Finals. Michael Redmond looks at the South American outfit and takes a little look at their history in the competition as well as their current set-up.


Match Details

Match: Uruguay vs Korea Republic- Group Stage, Group H
Date: Thursday, November 24th 2022
Time: 22:00 KST, 16:00 AST, 10:00 UYT
Venue: Education City Stadium, Education City, Ar-Rayyan, Qatar

Uruguay's Golden Days

Known as La Celeste which translates to The Sky Blue, Uruguay will be making their 15th appearance in the FIFA World Cup this November. Their first world cup was back in its inauguration in 1930. The competition was in Uruguay and they went on to win the competition. The finals were a little different back then compared to the 32-team tournament we know today. 

Back in 1930, Uruguay played only four games in the tournament, with only 13 teams taking part. Two group games followed a semi-final win against The United States and then a 4-1 win against Argentina to be crowned as champions.

Uruguay have been crowned champions of the FIFA World Cup on two different occastions.
Then followed two finals in Italy (1934) and France (1938). Uruguay refused to play in both editions. They refused to play in Italy due to the lack of European teams in the 1930 FIFA World Cup. In 1938, they believed the games should have been played in South America and refused to take part.

After the FIFA World Cup was put on hold until 1950, it meant that their next appearance in the competition from their 1930 win would be a 20-year gap. The tournament was held in Brazil and once more, Uruguay went on to win the competition. Playing four games, winning three and drawing one.

The 1950 edition consisted of four groups, (Uruguay and Bolivia were the only two teams in group 4). The winners of the group then went onto a final round-robin group stage. 

This group consisted of Brazil, Uruguay, Sweden, and Spain. Uruguay went on to win the group and be crowned champions once more. Uruguay has failed to win the FIFA World Cup since, yet has come 4th place on three separate occasions.

Uruguay's Road to Qatar

Uruguay finished in 3rd in the South American CONMEBOL qualifiers. With the first four teams automatically qualifying, it was more than enough for the side to book their flights to Qatar. Out of the 18 games played, Uruguay managed eight wins, four draws, and six losses. They were clear of qualifying by just four points.

Brazil and Argentina finished about them in the group with both teams being undefeated in the qualifiers.

Uruguay have beaten Korea twice in the FIFA World Cup finals.
Uruguay’s qualification came from beating the teams below them at the foot of the table, and dropping points against the teams near or around them in the final standings. Uruguay will need to improve on their qualifier performances if they are to make it a memorable world cup for the side.


Head to Head in the FIFA World Cup

This will be the third time the two sides have met each other in the finals. The first came in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. Uruguay beat Korea 1-0 and left the Horangi the only team out of a group of Uruguay, Belgium, and Spain to qualify. 

Uruguay are bringing a mix of experience as well as youth talent to the Finals
Their next meeting was in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. This time it was a round of 16 affair in Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately for Korea, it was another defeat as this time they fell 2-1 to the sky blues. Lee Chung-yong was the man who scored for Korea that match, sandwiched between two Luis Suárez goals.

The last time the two sides met was back in October 2018 in a friendly in Seoul. Korea won the game 2-1 that evening, with Hwang Ui-jo and Jo Woo-young the goal scorers.

Notable Players

Uruguay will be taking their senior goalkeeper Fernando Muslera with them. The Galatasary goal-stopper made his debut for the senior national team back in 2009 and now has over 130 caps for the side.

In defence, Diego Godín is the captain of the side and the most capped player in the Uruguayan side. Fans of European football will know his time best spent at Athletico Madrid.

Uruguay will look to face some familiar foes in group H of the FIFA World Cup
Mathías Olivera Miramontes is the player who stands out to many Korean football fans, Olivera plays alongside Kim Min-jae at still undefeated in the league Napoli. Having made his senior national team debut this year, Olivera will be one to keep an eye out for in this competition.

Uruguay still hosts an impressive forward line with both Luis Suárez and Edison Cavani making the call-up. Liverpool fans will be excited to see the inclusion of Darwin Núñez in the side as well as Manchester United fans since Facundo Pellistri made the cut. Uruguay has a mixture of experience and young talent upfront and it will be interesting to see who will get the start.

With Cavani and Suárez both 35 years of age, it will be surprising to see if they play every minute of the group stages.


FNR

Thoughts

It is a tough opening for the Korean Republic in the FIFA World Cup. They play a Uruguayan side who are long overdue for a good performance in the FIFA World Cup. They would believe that they have the power on their side to achieve something in Qatar and will have a point to prove. They managed a quarter-final appearance in the 2018 edition, being beaten 2-0 by eventual champions France.

The other two members might be looking at Uruguay with revenge on their minds. It was back in 2010 that Luis Suárez made a blatant handball to clear the ball from going into the net against Ghana. The penalty that was awarded was then saved in the 120th minute in the quarter-finals and Uruguay then went on to win in the penalty shootout.

A 12 hour time difference separates Uruguay and Korea. A 10pm Kick off on Thursday is a 10am Kick off in Uruguay.
Portugal were also a team looking for some revenge as they were knocked out by Uruguay in the 2018 FIFA World Cup along with Korea. Uruguay are not the sweethearts of this group to put it lightly.

Korea though have made some surprises in the past. No one can forget the 2-0 victory over Germany in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

With the competition now upon us. It is always important to remember that anyone can beat anyone on their given day, especially in a world cup.

Match Preview Podcast



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