(Xinhua) -- Mexico moved closer to
qualify from Group F at the World Cup after defeating South
Korea 2-1 in muggy weather at Rostov Arena on Saturday.
The Mexicans came to the city on the Don river to maintain,
hopefully expand their lead in the group, as they beat the
reigning champions in the opener.
On the other hand, South Korea were committed to the first
victory, utilising probably their last opportunity, as they are
to take on Germany in their last group match.
Suffocating heat and humidity impacted both teams negatively
from the first minute.
After a relatively slow-tempo and paralleled first 20
minutes, when the captain just finished their first shot on
target in this tournament, South Korea suffered another
A cross by Andres Guardado hit the stretching arm of center
back Jang Hyunsoo, who was trying to tackle the ball with a
slipper in the box.
This incident resulted in the second penalty awarded to the
opponents of the South Koreans, after they conceded one in their
first match against Sweden.
Carlos Vela calmly converted the penalty into a 1-0 lead for
Mexico in the 27th minute, as the South Korea goal keeper Jo
Hyeonwoo was sent to the wrong side.
It made the 14th penalty of Russia 2018, which already
outnumbered the total of 13 in Brazil four years ago, with the
tournament hadn’t gone into its halfway yet, primarily thanks to
the newly-implemented VAR system.
South Korea, led by Tottenham striker Son Heungmin, created a
couple of counterattack opportunities, but all of them ended up
After switching sides, the desperate South Koreans tried to
equalise the game by giving all they had.
However another goal of Mexico almost devastated their hope
as Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez doubled the lead for Mexico in
an efficient counterattack.
Son shined eventually in the injury time, when he turned a
long strike from outside of the box into a gorgeous goal, when
the ball curled past the Mexico goal keeper Guillermo Ochoa’s
"We devoted more attention in today’s match with South Korea
than the one against Germany, the players played very well
today, and the way of playing was very Mexican, so it’s a well
deserved victory, despite the fact that we gave our opponents
opportunities and conceded a goal, " said Mexico coach Osorio
Juan Carlos at the post-match press conference.
"We are very happy about the victory, but now, back to work,
we have to plan for the next match," the Colombian added.
"Our players played a game they will not regret, I’m really
grateful that they did their best until the last minute," South
Korean coach Shin Taeyong said.
"We have some good players, but I think maybe the lack of
experience which we need to accumulate in the future, is our
weak point, " he added.
Shin questioned whether the VAR should be used in a wider
range, as there might be a foul before the second goal his team
conceded. "We have to make a decision when the VAR should be
used, " he said.
Speaking about the next match Shin said, "Our players did
their utmost, ran a lot, so they are exhausted, but we will not
give up our third game against Germany."
Leading the group with six points, a place in the last 16 is
within reach for Mexico, who will battle with Sweden on June 27.
Mexico are scheduled to play Germany around one hour after
the match between South Korea and Mexico has finished.