FC Barcelona vs. AC Milan

El campeón inició la defensa del título de Champions League.

MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez topped the post-Catalan Grand Prix test day at Barcelona
Barcelona MotoGP test: Marc Marquez fastest with last-minute lap
MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez topped the post-Catalan Grand Prix test day at Barcelona
MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez topped the post-Catalan Grand Prix test day at Barcelona
Barcelona MotoGP test: Marc Marquez fastest with last-minute lap
MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez topped the post-Catalan Grand Prix test day at Barcelona
MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez topped the post-Catalan Grand Prix test day at Barcelona
Barcelona MotoGP test: Marc Marquez fastest with last-minute lap
MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez topped the post-Catalan Grand Prix test day at Barcelona
Diego Torres, el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, (i) acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d) ha ingresado esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE
Diego Torres, el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, (i) acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d) ha ingresado esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE
Diego Torres, el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, (i) acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d) ha ingresado esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE
La alcaldesa de Barcelona, Ada Colau. EFE/Archivo
La alcaldesa de Barcelona, Ada Colau. EFE/Archivo
La alcaldesa de Barcelona, Ada Colau. EFE/Archivo
Con Neymar de extremo izquierdo brilló desde la misma posición de Iniesta en el club azulgrana: tanto dirigió al equipo como marcó un golazo.
Tite da con el Coutinho que quiere el Barcelona
Con Neymar de extremo izquierdo brilló desde la misma posición de Iniesta en el club azulgrana: tanto dirigió al equipo como marcó un golazo.
Con Neymar de extremo izquierdo brilló desde la misma posición de Iniesta en el club azulgrana: tanto dirigió al equipo como marcó un golazo.
Tite da con el Coutinho que quiere el Barcelona
Con Neymar de extremo izquierdo brilló desde la misma posición de Iniesta en el club azulgrana: tanto dirigió al equipo como marcó un golazo.
Con Neymar de extremo izquierdo brilló desde la misma posición de Iniesta en el club azulgrana: tanto dirigió al equipo como marcó un golazo.
Tite da con el Coutinho que quiere el Barcelona
Con Neymar de extremo izquierdo brilló desde la misma posición de Iniesta en el club azulgrana: tanto dirigió al equipo como marcó un golazo.
Yerry Mina featured only occasionally last season with Barcelona and Colombia coach Jose Pekerman is not impressed with his treatment.
Pekerman criticises Barcelona's treatment of Yerry Mina
Yerry Mina featured only occasionally last season with Barcelona and Colombia coach Jose Pekerman is not impressed with his treatment.
El exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, Diego Torres, ha ingresado este lunes en la
Diego Torres ingresa en la prisión de Brians 2 (Barcelona) y pide el indulto
El exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, Diego Torres, ha ingresado este lunes en la
El exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, Diego Torres, ha ingresado este lunes en la
Diego Torres ingresa en la prisión de Brians 2 (Barcelona) y pide el indulto
El exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, Diego Torres, ha ingresado este lunes en la
AS Roma have confirmed that manager Eusebio Di Francesco has signed a contract extension which should see him remain with the club until 2020. The 48-year-old led Roma to a third-place finish in Italy's top flight last season, a campaign which produced some incredible moments in the Champions League - particularly against Barcelona - who they reversed a huge deficit against to progress to the semis. OFFICIAL ✍️ Coach Eusebio Di Francesco has signed a new contract with #ASRoma until 2020! ...
Eusebio Di Francesco Signs New Deal With AS Roma Following Impressive Season
AS Roma have confirmed that manager Eusebio Di Francesco has signed a contract extension which should see him remain with the club until 2020. The 48-year-old led Roma to a third-place finish in Italy's top flight last season, a campaign which produced some incredible moments in the Champions League - particularly against Barcelona - who they reversed a huge deficit against to progress to the semis. OFFICIAL ✍️ Coach Eusebio Di Francesco has signed a new contract with #ASRoma until 2020! ...
GRAF2546. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres (i), el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d), durante su ingreso esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE/Alejandro García
GRAF2546. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres (i), el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d), durante su ingreso esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE/Alejandro García
GRAF2546. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres (i), el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d), durante su ingreso esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE/Alejandro García
GRAF2544. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres (i), el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d), durante su ingreso esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE/Alejandro García
GRAF2544. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres (i), el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d), durante su ingreso esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE/Alejandro García
GRAF2544. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres (i), el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, acompañado de su abogado Gonzalez Peters (d), durante su ingreso esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos. EFE/Alejandro García
What is it? This match sees Colombia and Japan make their bow at the World Cup 2018, as Group H - the last of the eight groups, finally gets under way. When is it? Tuesday 19 June. What time is kick-off? 1pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? BBC One. Alternatively, you can follow the match live with us on Telegraph Sport. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? At the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. World Cup 2018 stadium: Mordovia Arena What is the team news? Premier League fans, there are familiar faces on both sides here: Arsenal's David Ospina and Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez will be joining forces to guard the Colombia goal, while Chelsea and Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao will lead the line. Another former Chelsea man in Juan Cuadrado should also start. For Japan, Southampton's Maya Yoshida and Leicester's Shinji Okazaki should both start. Former United man Shinji Kagawa will pull the strings in behind Okazaki. And as well as all of that, the biggest star has yet to be mentioned: 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez will play in behind Falcao. He scored six goals in five games at the last World Cup. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the squads in full: Colombia Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (AC Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (CD Once Caldas). Defenders: Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Oscar Murillo (CF Pachuca), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), Johan Mojica (Girona FC), Frank Fabra (CA Boca Juniors), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur). Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios (CA Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (RCD Espanyol), Abel Aguilar (AC Deportivo Cali), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus), Mateus Uribe (Club America), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Juan Fernando Quintero (CA River Plate). James Rodriguez will be key for Colombia Credit: AP Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Radamel Falcao Garcia (Monaco), Luis Muriel (Sevilla), Miguel Borja (SE Palmeiras), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton & Hove Albion). Japan Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol). Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers). Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale). Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz). What's the latest news on the two teams? Earthquake back home adds to Japan's worries Japan has not had the best of preparations for the World Cup in Russia, and news of an earthquake back home added to their worries on Monday, while a false hotel alarm a day before their opener against Colombia did little to help settle the team. The four-time Asian champions, who also face Senegal and Poland, have undergone a turbulent 10 months since qualifying, culminating in the firing of Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, the former Algeria coach, in April after a string of poor results. Japan's players in training on the eve of the game Credit: Getty images Former technical director Akira Nishino, who played as a midfielder for the national side, was named to lead the Samurai Blue in Russia, and has been in charge for just three games in the leadup to the tournament. The team woke up to the news on Monday that Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, was hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in the early hours, killing three people and injuring dozens. "There were players who were a bit shocked by this incident and they were concerned about relatives and family members," Nishino told reporters ahead of Japan's Group H opener at the Mordovia Arena. "They were concerned, so this psychological impact is something I am a bit worried about. But we, the team staff, are consulting with them and hope they will settle down." What are the odds? Colombia win - 8/11 Draw - 13/5 Japan win - 5/1 What's our prediction? Colombia are rightly favourites to win, and although Japan have quality sprinkled across their first team, the South Americans should just have that bit too much star quality. Prediction: Colombia 3 Japan 1 WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018, Colombia vs Japan: What time is kick-off tomorrow, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? This match sees Colombia and Japan make their bow at the World Cup 2018, as Group H - the last of the eight groups, finally gets under way. When is it? Tuesday 19 June. What time is kick-off? 1pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? BBC One. Alternatively, you can follow the match live with us on Telegraph Sport. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? At the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. World Cup 2018 stadium: Mordovia Arena What is the team news? Premier League fans, there are familiar faces on both sides here: Arsenal's David Ospina and Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez will be joining forces to guard the Colombia goal, while Chelsea and Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao will lead the line. Another former Chelsea man in Juan Cuadrado should also start. For Japan, Southampton's Maya Yoshida and Leicester's Shinji Okazaki should both start. Former United man Shinji Kagawa will pull the strings in behind Okazaki. And as well as all of that, the biggest star has yet to be mentioned: 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez will play in behind Falcao. He scored six goals in five games at the last World Cup. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the squads in full: Colombia Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (AC Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (CD Once Caldas). Defenders: Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Oscar Murillo (CF Pachuca), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), Johan Mojica (Girona FC), Frank Fabra (CA Boca Juniors), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur). Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios (CA Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (RCD Espanyol), Abel Aguilar (AC Deportivo Cali), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus), Mateus Uribe (Club America), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Juan Fernando Quintero (CA River Plate). James Rodriguez will be key for Colombia Credit: AP Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Radamel Falcao Garcia (Monaco), Luis Muriel (Sevilla), Miguel Borja (SE Palmeiras), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton & Hove Albion). Japan Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol). Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers). Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale). Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz). What's the latest news on the two teams? Earthquake back home adds to Japan's worries Japan has not had the best of preparations for the World Cup in Russia, and news of an earthquake back home added to their worries on Monday, while a false hotel alarm a day before their opener against Colombia did little to help settle the team. The four-time Asian champions, who also face Senegal and Poland, have undergone a turbulent 10 months since qualifying, culminating in the firing of Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, the former Algeria coach, in April after a string of poor results. Japan's players in training on the eve of the game Credit: Getty images Former technical director Akira Nishino, who played as a midfielder for the national side, was named to lead the Samurai Blue in Russia, and has been in charge for just three games in the leadup to the tournament. The team woke up to the news on Monday that Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, was hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in the early hours, killing three people and injuring dozens. "There were players who were a bit shocked by this incident and they were concerned about relatives and family members," Nishino told reporters ahead of Japan's Group H opener at the Mordovia Arena. "They were concerned, so this psychological impact is something I am a bit worried about. But we, the team staff, are consulting with them and hope they will settle down." What are the odds? Colombia win - 8/11 Draw - 13/5 Japan win - 5/1 What's our prediction? Colombia are rightly favourites to win, and although Japan have quality sprinkled across their first team, the South Americans should just have that bit too much star quality. Prediction: Colombia 3 Japan 1 WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
What is it? This match sees Colombia and Japan make their bow at the World Cup 2018, as Group H - the last of the eight groups, finally gets under way. When is it? Tuesday 19 June. What time is kick-off? 1pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? BBC One. Alternatively, you can follow the match live with us on Telegraph Sport. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? At the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. World Cup 2018 stadium: Mordovia Arena What is the team news? Premier League fans, there are familiar faces on both sides here: Arsenal's David Ospina and Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez will be joining forces to guard the Colombia goal, while Chelsea and Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao will lead the line. Another former Chelsea man in Juan Cuadrado should also start. For Japan, Southampton's Maya Yoshida and Leicester's Shinji Okazaki should both start. Former United man Shinji Kagawa will pull the strings in behind Okazaki. And as well as all of that, the biggest star has yet to be mentioned: 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez will play in behind Falcao. He scored six goals in five games at the last World Cup. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the squads in full: Colombia Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (AC Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (CD Once Caldas). Defenders: Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Oscar Murillo (CF Pachuca), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), Johan Mojica (Girona FC), Frank Fabra (CA Boca Juniors), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur). Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios (CA Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (RCD Espanyol), Abel Aguilar (AC Deportivo Cali), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus), Mateus Uribe (Club America), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Juan Fernando Quintero (CA River Plate). James Rodriguez will be key for Colombia Credit: AP Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Radamel Falcao Garcia (Monaco), Luis Muriel (Sevilla), Miguel Borja (SE Palmeiras), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton & Hove Albion). Japan Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol). Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers). Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale). Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz). What's the latest news on the two teams? Earthquake back home adds to Japan's worries Japan has not had the best of preparations for the World Cup in Russia, and news of an earthquake back home added to their worries on Monday, while a false hotel alarm a day before their opener against Colombia did little to help settle the team. The four-time Asian champions, who also face Senegal and Poland, have undergone a turbulent 10 months since qualifying, culminating in the firing of Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, the former Algeria coach, in April after a string of poor results. Japan's players in training on the eve of the game Credit: Getty images Former technical director Akira Nishino, who played as a midfielder for the national side, was named to lead the Samurai Blue in Russia, and has been in charge for just three games in the leadup to the tournament. The team woke up to the news on Monday that Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, was hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in the early hours, killing three people and injuring dozens. "There were players who were a bit shocked by this incident and they were concerned about relatives and family members," Nishino told reporters ahead of Japan's Group H opener at the Mordovia Arena. "They were concerned, so this psychological impact is something I am a bit worried about. But we, the team staff, are consulting with them and hope they will settle down." What are the odds? Colombia win - 8/11 Draw - 13/5 Japan win - 5/1 What's our prediction? Colombia are rightly favourites to win, and although Japan have quality sprinkled across their first team, the South Americans should just have that bit too much star quality. Prediction: Colombia 3 Japan 1 WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018, Colombia vs Japan: What time is kick-off tomorrow, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? This match sees Colombia and Japan make their bow at the World Cup 2018, as Group H - the last of the eight groups, finally gets under way. When is it? Tuesday 19 June. What time is kick-off? 1pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? BBC One. Alternatively, you can follow the match live with us on Telegraph Sport. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? At the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. World Cup 2018 stadium: Mordovia Arena What is the team news? Premier League fans, there are familiar faces on both sides here: Arsenal's David Ospina and Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez will be joining forces to guard the Colombia goal, while Chelsea and Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao will lead the line. Another former Chelsea man in Juan Cuadrado should also start. For Japan, Southampton's Maya Yoshida and Leicester's Shinji Okazaki should both start. Former United man Shinji Kagawa will pull the strings in behind Okazaki. And as well as all of that, the biggest star has yet to be mentioned: 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez will play in behind Falcao. He scored six goals in five games at the last World Cup. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the squads in full: Colombia Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (AC Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (CD Once Caldas). Defenders: Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Oscar Murillo (CF Pachuca), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), Johan Mojica (Girona FC), Frank Fabra (CA Boca Juniors), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur). Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios (CA Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (RCD Espanyol), Abel Aguilar (AC Deportivo Cali), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus), Mateus Uribe (Club America), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Juan Fernando Quintero (CA River Plate). James Rodriguez will be key for Colombia Credit: AP Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Radamel Falcao Garcia (Monaco), Luis Muriel (Sevilla), Miguel Borja (SE Palmeiras), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton & Hove Albion). Japan Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol). Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers). Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale). Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz). What's the latest news on the two teams? Earthquake back home adds to Japan's worries Japan has not had the best of preparations for the World Cup in Russia, and news of an earthquake back home added to their worries on Monday, while a false hotel alarm a day before their opener against Colombia did little to help settle the team. The four-time Asian champions, who also face Senegal and Poland, have undergone a turbulent 10 months since qualifying, culminating in the firing of Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, the former Algeria coach, in April after a string of poor results. Japan's players in training on the eve of the game Credit: Getty images Former technical director Akira Nishino, who played as a midfielder for the national side, was named to lead the Samurai Blue in Russia, and has been in charge for just three games in the leadup to the tournament. The team woke up to the news on Monday that Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, was hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in the early hours, killing three people and injuring dozens. "There were players who were a bit shocked by this incident and they were concerned about relatives and family members," Nishino told reporters ahead of Japan's Group H opener at the Mordovia Arena. "They were concerned, so this psychological impact is something I am a bit worried about. But we, the team staff, are consulting with them and hope they will settle down." What are the odds? Colombia win - 8/11 Draw - 13/5 Japan win - 5/1 What's our prediction? Colombia are rightly favourites to win, and although Japan have quality sprinkled across their first team, the South Americans should just have that bit too much star quality. Prediction: Colombia 3 Japan 1 WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
What is it? This match sees Colombia and Japan make their bow at the World Cup 2018, as Group H - the last of the eight groups, finally gets under way. When is it? Tuesday 19 June. What time is kick-off? 1pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? BBC One. Alternatively, you can follow the match live with us on Telegraph Sport. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? At the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. World Cup 2018 stadium: Mordovia Arena What is the team news? Premier League fans, there are familiar faces on both sides here: Arsenal's David Ospina and Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez will be joining forces to guard the Colombia goal, while Chelsea and Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao will lead the line. Another former Chelsea man in Juan Cuadrado should also start. For Japan, Southampton's Maya Yoshida and Leicester's Shinji Okazaki should both start. Former United man Shinji Kagawa will pull the strings in behind Okazaki. And as well as all of that, the biggest star has yet to be mentioned: 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez will play in behind Falcao. He scored six goals in five games at the last World Cup. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the squads in full: Colombia Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (AC Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (CD Once Caldas). Defenders: Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Oscar Murillo (CF Pachuca), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), Johan Mojica (Girona FC), Frank Fabra (CA Boca Juniors), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur). Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios (CA Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (RCD Espanyol), Abel Aguilar (AC Deportivo Cali), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus), Mateus Uribe (Club America), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Juan Fernando Quintero (CA River Plate). James Rodriguez will be key for Colombia Credit: AP Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Radamel Falcao Garcia (Monaco), Luis Muriel (Sevilla), Miguel Borja (SE Palmeiras), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton & Hove Albion). Japan Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol). Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers). Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale). Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz). What's the latest news on the two teams? Earthquake back home adds to Japan's worries Japan has not had the best of preparations for the World Cup in Russia, and news of an earthquake back home added to their worries on Monday, while a false hotel alarm a day before their opener against Colombia did little to help settle the team. The four-time Asian champions, who also face Senegal and Poland, have undergone a turbulent 10 months since qualifying, culminating in the firing of Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, the former Algeria coach, in April after a string of poor results. Japan's players in training on the eve of the game Credit: Getty images Former technical director Akira Nishino, who played as a midfielder for the national side, was named to lead the Samurai Blue in Russia, and has been in charge for just three games in the leadup to the tournament. The team woke up to the news on Monday that Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, was hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in the early hours, killing three people and injuring dozens. "There were players who were a bit shocked by this incident and they were concerned about relatives and family members," Nishino told reporters ahead of Japan's Group H opener at the Mordovia Arena. "They were concerned, so this psychological impact is something I am a bit worried about. But we, the team staff, are consulting with them and hope they will settle down." What are the odds? Colombia win - 8/11 Draw - 13/5 Japan win - 5/1 What's our prediction? Colombia are rightly favourites to win, and although Japan have quality sprinkled across their first team, the South Americans should just have that bit too much star quality. Prediction: Colombia 3 Japan 1 WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018, Colombia vs Japan: What time is kick-off tomorrow, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? This match sees Colombia and Japan make their bow at the World Cup 2018, as Group H - the last of the eight groups, finally gets under way. When is it? Tuesday 19 June. What time is kick-off? 1pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? BBC One. Alternatively, you can follow the match live with us on Telegraph Sport. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? At the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. World Cup 2018 stadium: Mordovia Arena What is the team news? Premier League fans, there are familiar faces on both sides here: Arsenal's David Ospina and Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez will be joining forces to guard the Colombia goal, while Chelsea and Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao will lead the line. Another former Chelsea man in Juan Cuadrado should also start. For Japan, Southampton's Maya Yoshida and Leicester's Shinji Okazaki should both start. Former United man Shinji Kagawa will pull the strings in behind Okazaki. And as well as all of that, the biggest star has yet to be mentioned: 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez will play in behind Falcao. He scored six goals in five games at the last World Cup. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the squads in full: Colombia Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal), Camilo Vargas (AC Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (CD Once Caldas). Defenders: Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Oscar Murillo (CF Pachuca), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), Johan Mojica (Girona FC), Frank Fabra (CA Boca Juniors), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur). Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios (CA Boca Juniors), Carlos Sanchez (RCD Espanyol), Abel Aguilar (AC Deportivo Cali), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus), Mateus Uribe (Club America), Jefferson Lerma (Levante), Juan Fernando Quintero (CA River Plate). James Rodriguez will be key for Colombia Credit: AP Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Villarreal), Radamel Falcao Garcia (Monaco), Luis Muriel (Sevilla), Miguel Borja (SE Palmeiras), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton & Hove Albion). Japan Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol). Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers). Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale). Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz). What's the latest news on the two teams? Earthquake back home adds to Japan's worries Japan has not had the best of preparations for the World Cup in Russia, and news of an earthquake back home added to their worries on Monday, while a false hotel alarm a day before their opener against Colombia did little to help settle the team. The four-time Asian champions, who also face Senegal and Poland, have undergone a turbulent 10 months since qualifying, culminating in the firing of Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic, the former Algeria coach, in April after a string of poor results. Japan's players in training on the eve of the game Credit: Getty images Former technical director Akira Nishino, who played as a midfielder for the national side, was named to lead the Samurai Blue in Russia, and has been in charge for just three games in the leadup to the tournament. The team woke up to the news on Monday that Osaka, Japan's second-biggest metropolis, was hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in the early hours, killing three people and injuring dozens. "There were players who were a bit shocked by this incident and they were concerned about relatives and family members," Nishino told reporters ahead of Japan's Group H opener at the Mordovia Arena. "They were concerned, so this psychological impact is something I am a bit worried about. But we, the team staff, are consulting with them and hope they will settle down." What are the odds? Colombia win - 8/11 Draw - 13/5 Japan win - 5/1 What's our prediction? Colombia are rightly favourites to win, and although Japan have quality sprinkled across their first team, the South Americans should just have that bit too much star quality. Prediction: Colombia 3 Japan 1 WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
GRAF2536. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA) (ESPAÑA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres, el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, ha ingresado esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos.-EFE/Alejandro García
GRAF2536. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA) (ESPAÑA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres, el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, ha ingresado esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos.-EFE/Alejandro García
GRAF2536. SANT ESTEVE SESROVIRES (BARCELONA) (ESPAÑA), 18/06/2018.- Diego Torres, el exsocio de Iñaki Urdangarin, ha ingresado esta tarde en la cárcel Can Brians 2, en Sant Esteve Sesrovires (Barcelona), para cumplir la condena de cinco años y ocho meses que se le ha impuesto por el desvío de fondos del caso Nóos.-EFE/Alejandro García
Here we take a look at Belgium's World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know. Belgium's preliminary World Cup squad - the 24 24-man squad* *Roberto Martinez said that World Cup rules allowed the final squad to be named 24 hours before they kick off their campaign Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg). Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City). Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur). Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/Dortmund), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli). Belgium fans expect their team to do well Credit: getty images Belgium's World Cup 2018 fixtures Belgium vs Panama: Monday, June 18 at 4pm Belgium vs Tunisia: Saturday, June 23 at 1pm Belgium vs England: Thursday, June 28 at 7pm Belgium's World Cup record World Cup record: Belgium How do you think Belgium should line up? Pick your XI here: Pick your Belgium XI for World Cup 2018 here What odds are Belgium to win the World Cup? 10/1 The kits See where Belgium's shirts ends up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Roberto Martinez. Ever-smiling and ultra-positive, but his defensive nous is open to question. Decision to leave out Radja Nainggolan has proved controversial. What are his and Belgium's tactics and likely formation? JJ Bull on how the Red Devils' squad of superstars could finally fulfil their potential and deliver: Who's the star? Plenty to choose from, but Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are the picks of a very talented bunch. Best thing about them A squad which is the envy of almost every nation on the planet. Loud, boisterous fans. World Cup predictor Worst thing about them Culture of underachievement at major tournaments. The perennial 'dark horses' tag no longer applies - this team should be challenging. You may recognise... Quicker to list those you won't. For added confusion, the squad also contains the lookalikey brothers of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku (Thorgan and Jordan). Cameramen will be picking out... The proud Lukaku and Hazard parents, presumably. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Fans' favourite chant A viral video from 2016 showed Belgian and Ireland fans congregating in the shared language of 'La-la-la-la-las'. On-field prediction Imperious right up until they meekly exit in the quarter-finals to some gnarled South Americans. Off-field prediction Fine until they go out, then anonymous media briefings about the standard of hotel catering and a 'coarse' feel to the grass at their training base. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Belgium World Cup 2018 squad list and team guide
Here we take a look at Belgium's World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know. Belgium's preliminary World Cup squad - the 24 24-man squad* *Roberto Martinez said that World Cup rules allowed the final squad to be named 24 hours before they kick off their campaign Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg). Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City). Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur). Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/Dortmund), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli). Belgium fans expect their team to do well Credit: getty images Belgium's World Cup 2018 fixtures Belgium vs Panama: Monday, June 18 at 4pm Belgium vs Tunisia: Saturday, June 23 at 1pm Belgium vs England: Thursday, June 28 at 7pm Belgium's World Cup record World Cup record: Belgium How do you think Belgium should line up? Pick your XI here: Pick your Belgium XI for World Cup 2018 here What odds are Belgium to win the World Cup? 10/1 The kits See where Belgium's shirts ends up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Roberto Martinez. Ever-smiling and ultra-positive, but his defensive nous is open to question. Decision to leave out Radja Nainggolan has proved controversial. What are his and Belgium's tactics and likely formation? JJ Bull on how the Red Devils' squad of superstars could finally fulfil their potential and deliver: Who's the star? Plenty to choose from, but Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are the picks of a very talented bunch. Best thing about them A squad which is the envy of almost every nation on the planet. Loud, boisterous fans. World Cup predictor Worst thing about them Culture of underachievement at major tournaments. The perennial 'dark horses' tag no longer applies - this team should be challenging. You may recognise... Quicker to list those you won't. For added confusion, the squad also contains the lookalikey brothers of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku (Thorgan and Jordan). Cameramen will be picking out... The proud Lukaku and Hazard parents, presumably. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Fans' favourite chant A viral video from 2016 showed Belgian and Ireland fans congregating in the shared language of 'La-la-la-la-las'. On-field prediction Imperious right up until they meekly exit in the quarter-finals to some gnarled South Americans. Off-field prediction Fine until they go out, then anonymous media briefings about the standard of hotel catering and a 'coarse' feel to the grass at their training base. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Here we take a look at Belgium's World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know. Belgium's preliminary World Cup squad - the 24 24-man squad* *Roberto Martinez said that World Cup rules allowed the final squad to be named 24 hours before they kick off their campaign Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg). Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City). Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur). Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/Dortmund), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli). Belgium fans expect their team to do well Credit: getty images Belgium's World Cup 2018 fixtures Belgium vs Panama: Monday, June 18 at 4pm Belgium vs Tunisia: Saturday, June 23 at 1pm Belgium vs England: Thursday, June 28 at 7pm Belgium's World Cup record World Cup record: Belgium How do you think Belgium should line up? Pick your XI here: Pick your Belgium XI for World Cup 2018 here What odds are Belgium to win the World Cup? 10/1 The kits See where Belgium's shirts ends up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Roberto Martinez. Ever-smiling and ultra-positive, but his defensive nous is open to question. Decision to leave out Radja Nainggolan has proved controversial. What are his and Belgium's tactics and likely formation? JJ Bull on how the Red Devils' squad of superstars could finally fulfil their potential and deliver: Who's the star? Plenty to choose from, but Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are the picks of a very talented bunch. Best thing about them A squad which is the envy of almost every nation on the planet. Loud, boisterous fans. World Cup predictor Worst thing about them Culture of underachievement at major tournaments. The perennial 'dark horses' tag no longer applies - this team should be challenging. You may recognise... Quicker to list those you won't. For added confusion, the squad also contains the lookalikey brothers of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku (Thorgan and Jordan). Cameramen will be picking out... The proud Lukaku and Hazard parents, presumably. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Fans' favourite chant A viral video from 2016 showed Belgian and Ireland fans congregating in the shared language of 'La-la-la-la-las'. On-field prediction Imperious right up until they meekly exit in the quarter-finals to some gnarled South Americans. Off-field prediction Fine until they go out, then anonymous media briefings about the standard of hotel catering and a 'coarse' feel to the grass at their training base. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Belgium World Cup 2018 squad list and team guide
Here we take a look at Belgium's World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know. Belgium's preliminary World Cup squad - the 24 24-man squad* *Roberto Martinez said that World Cup rules allowed the final squad to be named 24 hours before they kick off their campaign Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg). Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City). Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur). Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/Dortmund), Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli). Belgium fans expect their team to do well Credit: getty images Belgium's World Cup 2018 fixtures Belgium vs Panama: Monday, June 18 at 4pm Belgium vs Tunisia: Saturday, June 23 at 1pm Belgium vs England: Thursday, June 28 at 7pm Belgium's World Cup record World Cup record: Belgium How do you think Belgium should line up? Pick your XI here: Pick your Belgium XI for World Cup 2018 here What odds are Belgium to win the World Cup? 10/1 The kits See where Belgium's shirts ends up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Roberto Martinez. Ever-smiling and ultra-positive, but his defensive nous is open to question. Decision to leave out Radja Nainggolan has proved controversial. What are his and Belgium's tactics and likely formation? JJ Bull on how the Red Devils' squad of superstars could finally fulfil their potential and deliver: Who's the star? Plenty to choose from, but Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are the picks of a very talented bunch. Best thing about them A squad which is the envy of almost every nation on the planet. Loud, boisterous fans. World Cup predictor Worst thing about them Culture of underachievement at major tournaments. The perennial 'dark horses' tag no longer applies - this team should be challenging. You may recognise... Quicker to list those you won't. For added confusion, the squad also contains the lookalikey brothers of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku (Thorgan and Jordan). Cameramen will be picking out... The proud Lukaku and Hazard parents, presumably. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Fans' favourite chant A viral video from 2016 showed Belgian and Ireland fans congregating in the shared language of 'La-la-la-la-las'. On-field prediction Imperious right up until they meekly exit in the quarter-finals to some gnarled South Americans. Off-field prediction Fine until they go out, then anonymous media briefings about the standard of hotel catering and a 'coarse' feel to the grass at their training base. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The PSG superstar was felled 10 times during the 1-1 draw with Switzerland, and the Barcelona midfielder is expecting more of the same
Coutinho expects more Neymar punishment at World Cup
The PSG superstar was felled 10 times during the 1-1 draw with Switzerland, and the Barcelona midfielder is expecting more of the same
Rupert Stadler, chief executive officer of Audi AG, looks on as he unveils the Audi AG A8 sedan automobile during a launch event in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Stadler faces his toughest test since taking the helm at Audi ten years ago, as Volkswagen’s biggest profit contributor grapples with declining sales and widening legal probes into its role in the diesel scandal. Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg
VW to Pick Schot as Audi Interim Chief After CEO Arrest
Rupert Stadler, chief executive officer of Audi AG, looks on as he unveils the Audi AG A8 sedan automobile during a launch event in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Stadler faces his toughest test since taking the helm at Audi ten years ago, as Volkswagen’s biggest profit contributor grapples with declining sales and widening legal probes into its role in the diesel scandal. Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Why are the World Cup favourites floundering?
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Why are the World Cup favourites floundering?
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Why are the World Cup favourites floundering?
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Why are the World Cup favourites floundering?
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Why are the World Cup favourites floundering?
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Why are the World Cup favourites floundering?
The 2018 World Cup is not yet a week old but has already provided a handful of surprise results - mostly involving the tournament’s top teams. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland, France squeezed past Australia and Germany lost to Mexico. Even Spain, boasting a squad brimming European and World champions, conceded three goals in their first game. Brazil took 21 shots, Germany had 26, and Argentina 27. It was not through want of trying that they did not score more. So what went wrong for each side, and what needs to be done to fix it? Germany Joshua Kimmich was hailed as the best right back in the world after his thrilling Euro 2016 performances, playing in the position vacated by the retired Philipp Lahm. Against Mexico, he had just 18 touches in his own half, and spent most of his time bombing forwards. He lost the ball 19 times - the second most in the team, and didn’t make a single tackle. This irked Mats Hummels, playing in central defence, who did not hold back after the game, saying: "If seven or eight players attack, then it's clear the offensive force is greater than the defensive stability. Our cover wasn't good, too often it was just Jerome Boateng and I at the back." Joshua Kimmich touch map: The right back had at least three times as many touches in the opposition half as his own against Mexico Credit: OPTA In midfield, the blame was shared. Mesut Ozil won only one of his seven duels and didn’t make a single tackle. Thomas Muller didn’t muster a single shot, and had a pass completion rate of 71 per cent. He gave the ball away 22 times. And Sami Khedira, taken off after an hour, didn’t make a single tackle and gave the ball away for Mexico’s goal. Up front, Germany had 26 shots, the most by a side without scoring in a World Cup match since 2006. Draxler and Kroos worked hard, but ultimately could not convert. There is no doubt that Leroy Sane could have brightened things up. Timo Werner squandered a big chance just before the final whistle. Germany have a fantastic squad, full of European and World Cup winners, but they badly under-performed in Moscow. Defensive discipline and midfield steel are required for their remaining group games, for which they are now under serious pressure. Argentina Argentina's problem seems obvious: profligacy. Iceland took an absolute hammering, facing down 27 shots from some of the world’s best attackers. Argentina also had 10 corners, 25 crosses, 78 per cent possession and made 751 passes, but could not find a way through for a second. The biggest culprit was also the side's biggest talisman. Lionel Messi had 11 shots without scoring - including his saved penalty - which was the most taken fruitlessly at a World Cup finals since 1970. Messi's 11 shots were not enough to break the Icelandic defence Credit: Juan Mabromata / AFP Maybe it was just one of those days for Messi, but - as ever where Barcelona's forward is concerned - you wonder what influence Cristiano Ronaldo's own display the previous night for Portugal against Spain might have had on him. Was he trying too hard, attempting to replicate the impact of his Real Madrid rival's hat-trick? If so, he needs to detach and relax. The more he tried against Iceland, the more he seemed to struggle. Afterwards, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said: "To evaluate and characterise Lionel Messi's work is difficult because it was an uncomfortable match for him. Iceland played very defensively, blocking all spaces but we did everything we could to win.” In their next game, against Croatia on Thursday, they cannot be so wasteful. Brazil Brazil had 21 shots taken by 11 different players in their draw against Switzerland, as well as seven corners, but their one concern in attack is with Neymar and how he was stifled. The Paris Saint-Germain striker became the most fouled player in a World Cup match in 20 years in Rostov: of Switzerland's 19 fouls in the game, 10 of them came against Neymar. Valon Behrami was chief enforcer, tracking the forward all over the pitch, eventually running out of steam by 70 minutes. Neymar was fouled 10 times against Switzerland Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP Part of the problem stemmed from Neymar taking on too much responsibility. He attempted 11 dribbles during the game but completed just five of those. Neymar needs more support. Brazil did not dominate the game to the same extent as some of their big rivals in their opening match, with negligible territorial advantage over the 90 minutes, and less possession in the first half. They lost the ball 124 times - just less than Switzerland’s 130. Casemiro needs to take these games by the scruff of the neck as he did so well for Real Madrid in Europe this season. Their next test will come against the compact Costa Rica, but Brazil have the talent to unpick the midfield. France France scraped past Australia, relying on VAR and goal-line technology to win 2-1. Hugo Lloris made some fine saves in what was otherwise an ordinary performance from Les Bleus. The French squad has been feted as the most valuable in the tournament, worth an eyewatering £950million, but there are question marks over how Didier Deschamps deployed their front three of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé. For a start, Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation was unfamiliar - he had used 4-4-2 in qualifying and then 4-3-1-2 in the World Cup warm-up friendlies - and France's unfamiliarity with the system showed against the Australians. Combined heat map of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé in the game against Australia Credit: OPTA The heat map for Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe shows how lop-sided France were, with too much emphasis placed on their left hand side. Dembélé did not take a single shot in 70 minutes, and lost the ball 14 times. Griezmann did not make a single tackle and lost the ball 13 times, but he did at least have three shots on target. Mbappé had one. Peru and Denmark should provide stronger opposition than Australia, with the teams ranked 11th and 12th in the world respectively, but with France’s depth and obvious ability, and Paul Pogba looking sharp in midfield, the group stage should be easily navigated. Spain In Spain’s draw with Portugal, we learnt more about Ronaldo’s brilliance than Spain’s shortcomings. A phenomenal free kick, a clinical penalty and a goalkeeper spillage are all tricky to mitigate against, so despite the scoreline, there isn’t much to panic about on the pitch. Costa will continue to bully defenders, Ramos will continue to bully attackers and Spain will start to win. Isco’s brilliance in midfield showed why he kept Gareth Bale out of the Real Madrid team for much of last season. The playmaker made 89 successful passes and crucially, 63 of those were going forwards. Isco starred for Spain, against Portugal Credit: TASS / Barcroft Images Overall, Spain made more than twice as many passes as Portugal, with 757. Their completion rate was 92.2 per cent, showing that tiki-taka still works. The main concern for Spain is off the pitch. Fernando Hierro had obvious pedigree as a player, but his managerial track record is patchy. He worked as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, before leaving to manage Segunda Division outfit Real Oviedo. He left after a year having missed out on the play-off places. Whether he has the tactical nous to navigate his way through a knockout tournament is yet to be seen. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.
World Cup 2018: VAR strikes again as Swedish penalty sinks South Korea
Jamie Carragher: Southgate has changed our perceptions Paul Hayward: It's now or never for England at the World Cup Belgium vs Panama (4pm kick-off) England vs Tunisia (7pm kick-off) Andreas Granqvist took advantage of a VAR-awarded penalty to hand Sweden a 1-0 win over South Korea in their World Cup opener. The Sweden captain tucked home in the 65th minute of the Group F clash in Nizhny Novgorod after technology was used to rule that Viktor Claesson had been fouled in the area. It was a deserved victory for Sweden, who created the better chances throughout and Marcus Berg spurned a couple of good openings. The Swedes had been accused of spying on a Korea training session in the build-up to the game but they began with an apparent determination to put their own shortcomings in front of goal right. Sweden had not scored in three outings prior to the tournament but they showed the greater attacking intent in the first half. Granqvist, without defensive colleague Victor Lindelof of Manchester United due to illness, had an early opportunity after breaking from deep. He combined well with Berg, who returned his pass with a neat backheel, but Kim Young-gwon produced a fine tackle to frustrate him. Marcus Berg missed a wonderful chance for Sweden in the first half Credit: reuters Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo then justified his unexpected selection, having been regarded as coach Shin Tae-yong's third choice, by producing a fine point-black save to deny Berg. Ola Toivonen headed wide from the resulting corner. Korea suffered a blow when left-back Park Joo-ho was forced off midway through the first half with a hamstring injury and Sweden threatened again moments later through Berg, but again Young-gwon got in the way. Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box. Berg had another chance before the break as he controlled a long ball on his chest and took it away from the keeper but he could only lob across goal. Mikael Lustig picked out Claesson with an inviting cross on the stroke of half-time but his header was deflected wide. Sweden now top Group F alongside Mexico Credit: getty images Korea began the second half more positively with Koo Ja-cheol heading narrowly wide but Sweden soon regained control and Jo again did well to keep out a header from Toivonen. The breakthrough came after 65 minutes as Sweden were awarded a penalty after video review. Referee Joel Aguilar initially allowed play to go on after Claesson was hacked down by Lee Jae-sung but called a halt moments later, as Korea launched a counter-attack, after a word in his ear. Granqvist took responsibility and sent Jo the wrong way. That proved the telling blow and Sweden were largely untroubled as they saw out victory. Korea might have snatched an equaliser in stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan was unable to keep his header on target. 3:09PM What next? Anyway, what does that mean for Group F? Well, Sweden join Mexico at the head of the table, while South Korea and Germany are pointless (and goalless). Today's winners face the reigning World Cup champions next, which is a huge game. If Germany lose... well. Let's wait and see. 3:06PM Good job / bad job Obviously Clatts knows a hell of a lot more about refereeing than me, but I'm not really sure what the problem is. Yes, replays showed it was a penalty, but it all happened very quickly and did not appear clear cut at first viewing. VAR did the required job and all has ended correctly. Can't we just be happy with that? 3:02PM Referee view Mark Clattenburg (speaking on ITV) on the VAR decision: What I'm concerned about the refereeing so far is he has a perfect chance to make the decision. He moves across beautifully. He has an unobstructed view and can clearly see it is a foul. I can't understand how a referee at this level cannot make a simple decision like this. Are they relying too much on the video? 2:59PM Full-time stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (0 min) 2:58PM Reaction A strange game, as a whole. You have to say Sweden deserved it, although they were rather underwhelming both for their poor finishing and the way they played after taking the lead. South Korea just looked blunt though. They didn't have enough to break down a decent defensive performance from the Swedes. 2:51PM Full-time Sweden 1 South Korea 0 2:51PM 90+3 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 A needless corner given away by Sweden! The Korean goalkeeper wanted to come up for it, but the coach says no. In comes the ball and the Koreans reckon there may have been a Swedish handball, but the referee isn't interested at all. Replays show the ball seemed to thud into Granqvist's head or perhaps chest. Correct decision. 2:49PM 90+2 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Was that the chance? The ball is delivered high into the box, it finds its way to Hwang unmarked on the penalty spot, but his header is off target and wide of the post. I tell you what, Sweden have been hopeless since taking the lead. You could argue they are content to sit back on their 1-0 lead, but they have barely touched the ball. 2:47PM 90 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 There will be four minutes of stoppage time for South Korean to find an equaliser... 2:46PM 89 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Kim Min-Woo's cross from the left is hacked clear at the near post. 2:45PM 88 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The Koreans are really struggling to break Sweden down. Plenty of possession, but they are greeted with a wall of yellow and don't seem to possess anything capable of breaking it down. 2:43PM 86 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea have not had a shot on target this entire match. 2:42PM 85 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Nervous faces aplenty as the camera pans across the crowd. Lee Seung-Woo has woken up his side since coming off the bench. Can they find a route through? 2:40PM 82 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Son has more than half a dozen team-mates waiting in the box as he stands over a free-kick from the right, but his delivery fails to beat the front man. Sweden have not kicked on since taking the lead at all. 2:38PM 80 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The final substitution of the match sees Svensson replace the injured Larsson, who appears to have picked up a knock to one of his legs and limps off the pitch. 2:36PM 79 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The South Koreans are seeing more of the ball in these closing stages, but Son cannot work his magic on the edge of the box, where he is crowded out as he looks for a route on goal. Lee Seung-Woo has been lively since coming off the bench. 2:35PM 77 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 VAR in action: Credit: getty images 2:34PM 76 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 The signs aren't looking promising at the moment for the Koreans, who just don't seem to possess the threat required. Another Swedish change sees Thelin replace Toivonen. 2:32PM 74 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Lee Seung-Woo played for Barcelona once upon a time, by the way. He now plies his trade at Verona and is only 20 years old. Can he mastermind an equaliser? 2:30PM 72 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 All sorts of changes being made now. Hiljemark comes on for Ekdal, while Lee Seung-Woo is on in place of Koo. 2:27PM 70 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 South Korea made a change after that goal, with Kim Shin-Wook replaced by Jung. That has seen Hwang moved up top and the substitute shifted out wide. Meanwhile, Sweden are very much on the charge now with the Koreans losing their way a little. 2:25PM 67 mins - Sweden 1 South Korea 0 Like or loathe VAR, but that was perfect use of the tool. An incorrect decision, correctly overturned. Oh and Granqvist had scored a few penalties in qualifying for this tournament, so perhaps not that much of a surpise. 2:22PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL!!!! Can you believe who has stepped up to take the penalty? It's centre-back Granqvist!!! Here he comes... cool as you like. The skipper sidefoots the ball low to the right and Sweden are 1-0 up. Sweden 1 - 0 Korea Rep (Andreas Granqvist, 65 min) 2:21PM VAR review It was Kim Min-Woo who slid in on Claesson inside the penalty area. Did he get the ball or was it all man? Replays show: No touch of the ball. Clear penalty. And the referee has overturned his decision and pointed to the spot. 2:20PM 62 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 HUGE appeals for a Swedish penalty. The players and manager are going absolutely insane. And the referee has made the VAR signal... 2:18PM 61 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Claesson after a reckless challenge on Hwang high up the pitch. 2:16PM 59 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Down the other end comes Hwang, who gets to the byline, hares towards the goal and attempts to cut back to one of four South Koreans charging into the box, but Jansson cuts it out just in the nick of time. 2:15PM 58 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It's been a livelier start to the second half at both ends of the pitch. Credit: reuters 2:14PM 57 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... Larsson whips a gorgeous ball in, Toivonenmeets it in the middle and nods strongly towards goal, but Jo saves well low to his right again. The South Korean goalkeeper is having a fine game. 2:13PM 55 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A yellow card for Hwang for kicking Augustinsson in the back on the floor after fouling the Swedish player. That gives Sweden the chance to deliver a cross into the box from the left... 2:11PM 53 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 He's up on his feet and close to the first goal of the afternoon. A few Korean supporters in the stadium think their side has taken the lead, but Koo's header has gone the wrong side of the post. He did excellently to rise highest at the near post as the ball was delivered from the left, but the header is just off target. 2:09PM 52 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Painful for Koo (who is writhing in agony) after Larsson stamps on the side of his knee while challenging for the ball. A free-kick is given but nothing more. It looked accidental, although Ally McCoisat says "he knows" what he's doing. 2:07PM 50 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity goes begging for Sweden as Claesson gets in behind the Korean defence before cutting back to the fast-arriving Forsberg. The RB Leipzig winger decides to cut inside onto his right foot and attempts to curl into the top corner, but puts too much on it and watches as the ball sails high and wide. 2:05PM 47 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 An early sniff of a chance that never materialises for South Korea. The ball is worked to wide right where Lee Yong has made good ground from right-back, but his low cross is too close to Olsen and the goalkeeper snaffles it with ease. 2:02PM Kick-off (part two) Sweden get the second half underway. No half-time changes for either side. 1:57PM Analysis "That was a sitter," says Henrik Larsson of Berg's miss from close-range. But the Swede is content enough with his side's performance. They started slowly, but Sweden have dominated huge portions of this match and it's difficult to see anything other than a victory for the European side based on that first-half showing. Actually, a goalless draw could be a sure bet. South Korea have just been unable to get enough time on the ball, while Son has been kept quiet. 1:54PM Stats Sweden vs Korea Rep shots on goal Average touch positions (half time) Sweden vs Korea Rep 1:48PM Half-time Nothing doing for either side. Sweden 0 South Korea 0. 1:47PM 45+1 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another opportunity late in the half for Sweden. Lustig delivers a demon of a cross from the right, which Larsson rises highest to meet, but his header is deflected over the bar for a corner that comes to nothing. 1:45PM 45 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Two minutes of stoppage time to be played. 1:44PM 44 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another chance for Berg, who does brilliantly to bring a long ball down on his chest and work a shooting chance, but again his finish is poor. Ki then slides in on Toivonen, which prompts appeals for a Sweden penalty, but the referee says no. And replays show it was a perfect sliding tackle, taking the entire ball and then a whole lot of man after. 1:42PM 42 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is smart from the South Koreans, working the ball from left to right and before it is played in to Son as he darts into the box. Augustinsson gets just in front of the Spurs man though and nips in to tackle at the crucial moment. 1:39PM 38 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden are furious not to be awarded a free-kick high up the pitch, but the referee waves away their appeals and it allows Ki to drive South Korea up the pitch. The chance fails to materialise but the Swedes are furious. Rightly so, replays show, because that was a clear foul on Forsberg. Jon Champion has just said "possibilities" in the manner of his Pro Evo commentary. I hope someone other than me know what I'm talking about there. It prompted a little smile (from me). 1:35PM 35 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The shot counter stands at Sweden 2 South Korea 0. The likes of Son just aren't getting a sniff of the ball at the moment. Hold that thought... here he comes. The Spurs man picks the ball up inside his own half and sprints all of 50m past the Sweden defence before cutting back in the direction Hwang, but Granqvist is there to cut out the danger. 1:31PM 31 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 This is where Berg missed from: Credit: afp 1:30PM 30 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are just hanging on a little now as Sweden continue to press. 1:29PM 29 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 ... the ball is delivered, only to be headed behind for a corner. And another corner after Kim Young-Gwon throws himself admirably in the way of Berg's close-range shot. A brilliant block that. Kim Min-Woo is now on in place of Park. 1:27PM 27 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 South Korea are a man down at the moment and Park is going to have to go off. He looks to have done some hamstring damage while leaping to keep a ball in play. A new left back is going to be required. Meanwhile, Sweden have an extra man and a free-kick in a dangerous position... 1:26PM 25 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The Swedes have grown into this match after a slow start. South Korea have been nowhere near the opposition penalty area for some time. 1:25PM 24 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 That Berg chance really, really, really should have been taken and it should be 1-0 to Sweden. 1:22PM 21 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a save. My word, how has that not gone in??? Berg is totally unmarked as the ball comes into the box, eight yards from goal and looks for all the money in the world like he is going to score. But Jo makes himself big and deflects the ball over the bar courtesy of his leg and a punch. That was a HUGE chance. Also the first shot of the match for either side. Attempt Saved: Sweden 0 - 0 Korea Rep (Marcus Berg, 20 min) 1:19PM 18 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 What a run from Granqvist. The Sweden centre-back decides to take matters into his own hands and charges from his centre-back position upfield. He plays a lovely one-two with Berg, whose smart back-heel guides the ball into the box, where Kim Young-Gwon has to slide in and deliver an inch-perfect tackle just as the Sweden skipper was preparing to shoot. 1:16PM 16 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 The volume briefly rises as Son is given the chance to run at the Sweden defence down the left, but Jansson stands his ground well and times his challenge nicely just inside his own penalty area to dispossess the Spurs man. Credit: getty images 1:14PM 14 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A first hint of danger for the Koreans as Sweden have the ball inside their penalty area, but no opportunity arises to have a crack and the eventual cross is claimed well by Jo. 1:13PM 13 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Only 1,500 South Koreans inside the stadium apparently, while 30,000 Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Russia. But the minority will be more pleased with what they've seen so far. Although Kim Shin-Wook has just picked up the first booking of the match for a high tackle. Probably accidental, as his foot rolled over the ball but a yellow nonetheless. 1:10PM 10 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Blimey, referee Joel Aguilar has had his whistle glued to his lips so far. Soft foul after soft foul, all around the middle of the park. 1:09PM 9 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Sweden have been unable to venture into South Korea's third in these opening exchanges. Goals are the main concern for this Swedish side. 1:06PM 6 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Another set piece for South Korea after a foul on the left flank. Son is the man to deliver the inswinger, but Kim Shin-Wook (who is playing up top for the Koreans) is deemed guilty of fouling his marker and the referee blows the whistle for a foul. 1:05PM 5 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 Hwang has a first chance to run at his opposite number down the right and wins a corner for South Korea. Kim Shin-Wook is 6ft 6in so a decent target man for the set piece but Olsen comes out to punch clear with ease. 1:03PM 3 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 A couple of gentle fouls, a few long balls and Ally McCoist unhappy that South Korea weren't allowed to wear red because it would have "brightened up the occasion". That's your lot so far. 1:02PM 2 mins - Sweden 0 South Korea 0 It looks as though Ki is going to play deep in the central midfield role for South Korea, dropping between centre-backs when necessary. His contribution will be crucial, you think. 1:00PM Kick-off Sweden in yellow. South Korea (not allowed to wear red for this match) in white. 12:56PM Nearly game time The players are out. The temperature is 27 degrees. The anthems are being sung. And I cannot listen to Jon Champion without hearing his Pro Evo commentary. "Coaches often say to players: treat the ball as a friend..." 12:53PM Fun in the sun This match is one of six World Cup games being played at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium: World Cup 2018 stadium: Nizhny Nogorod Stadium And the weather is beautiful: Credit: afp Credit: getty images Credit: ap 12:46PM News, news, news A couple of other lines emerging from Russia this morning. Story No 1: Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic sent home from 2018 World Cup after refusing to play against Nigeria And story No 2: Fifa launch investigation into homophobic chants by Mexico fans during World Cup match against Germany 12:36PM South Korea The South Koreans are - to use football parlance - not in a good moment. They only won four of their 10 qualifying games and required a 0-0 draw away in Uzbekistan to secure their place in Russia. Expectations are not high. A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulder of Son Heung-min. The Spurs man is adored in his home nation, where he is fast approaching Park Ji-sung as their most famous footballing figure. In the abscene of a reliable forward, Son could lead the line. One interesting name is Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan, who is the youngest player in the squad and has been linked with a few big-name clubs. He will play up top alongside Son and could whack a few zeros onto his market value at this World Cup. Most of the remaining players in the squad ply their trade either at home or in Japan, but captain Ki Sung-yueng is an exception. He is the heartbeat of the side, will attempt to run the show from the middle of the park and much will depend on how he performs. The defence is a weakness. Credit: afp 12:23PM Sweden So, in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what can we expect from Sweden today? First and foremost, a solid defence. Janne Andersson's side kept seven clean sheets in 12 qualifying games before stopping Italy from scoring in either leg of their World Cup play-off. The team is notable for its lack of star names. Captain Andreas Granqvist did not make the grade at Wigan and plies his trade at Helsingborg, but was the first man other than Ibrahimovic to be named Swedish player of the year since 2006 when he received the accolade last year. Other potentially familiar names include defenders Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Swansea City) and Pontus Jansson (Leeds United). One-time Arsenal and now Hull City midfielder Seb Larsson starts in central midfield, while RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg carries their main attacking threat from the wing. Much is expected of him in particular. Lindelof is unwell so Jansson comes into the side to partner Granqvist in the middle of the defence. Credit: reuters 12:11PM Mistaken identity A cracking little story has emerged in the build-up to this match. Here's the headline: South Korean football squad swapped jerseys in training to confuse Swedish spies And here's the quote from South Korea manager Shin Tae-yong: I heard that Western people don’t recognise Asian people’s faces at once, so that was my little trick to confuse the opponents. 12:03PM Your teams are in TEAM NEWS // We have the teams for #SWEKOR... ��#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/l6e1oCpBc8— FIFA World Cup �� (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018 11:56AM Who don't like Mondays? How great is football on a Monday lunch time? And a Monday afternoon? And a Monday evening? It's literally (that's a lie) never-ending. Kicking off the World Cup delicacies this week are Sweden and South Korea. Coming into this tournament, both sides would have assumed they were fighting for second place in Group F with reigning champions Germany huge favourites to top the group. Then the Germans went and lost 1-0 to Mexico, blowing the entire thing wide open. What it does mean - assuming Germany come back stronger in their remaining two group fixtures - is whoever loses this match will be seriously struggling to make it to the knockout stages. In the yellow corner are Sweden, who have never lost a match against South Korea (played 4: won 2, drawn 2). They also secured their joint-biggest ever win against the South Koreans when thumping them 12-0 at the 1948 Olympics. What does that mean for today? Absolutely bugger all. The main thing to note from a Sweden perspective is a lack of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The talismanic striker had been a mainstay of the Swedish line-up for close to two decades, but hung up his (international) boots after Euro 2016. In his absence, the Swedes performed mightily well to qualify for this tournament by finishing second in a group with France and Holland, before beating Italy in the play-offs. South Korea are guided by two men who will be well-known to Premier League fans: Son Heung-min, of Tottenham fame, and Ki Sung-yueng, of free-agent-but-formerly-of-Swansea-City fame. The bookies have Sweden as favourites, but South Korea have the standout player on the pitch in Son. And, unsurprisingly, they ruddy love him. I remember this tweet from a few months back: South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 It turns out the broadcaster had Son's image on the screen so that people knew whether he was on the pitch or not. So not quite what the original tweet suggested, but still pretty amusing. If you want my tip, I've gone for a 1-1 draw. And that comes from a man sat rock bottom of the 38 people in our Telegraph office match-by-match prediction competition, so anything I say has absolutely no chance of happening.