What: 2010 FIFA World Cup
Who: South Korea vs Greece (Group B)
When: Saturday 12th June, 2010, at 12:30 UK Time
Where: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Searching for a Repeat of 2002

Supporters of the Taeguk Warriors will never forget the 2002 World Cup when, as one of the host nations, South Korea made it through to the semi-final, where eventually they were knocked out by Germany. Eight years on the Tigers of Asia will be using that fairytale run as inspiration to try and achieve a similar feat in South Africa. The Asian side should be quietly confident they can progress to the knockout phase, but it will be a closely fought battle between themselves, opening match opponents Greece and African powerhouse Nigeria to determine who will join Argentina in the last 16.

Dark Horse or Also Ran?

Greece shocked the footballing world in 2004 when the 80/1 outsiders won Euro 2004 in Portugal. Since that momentuous occasion their fortunes on the international stage have diminished: Greece failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup and then didn’t win a match whilst defending their trophy at Euro 2008. Not much is expected of them this time around, but not much was expected of them when they landed in Portugal in 2004. The Ethiniki’s veteran German coach Otto Rehhagel relishes the underdog tag and in a wide open group the side affectionately known as the Pirate Ship could find themselves having another major impact on an international tournament.

Recent form

South Korea:
Japan 0-2 South Korea (24/05; Friendly)
Belarus 1-0 South Korea (30/05; Friendly)
Spain 1-0 South Korea (03/06; Friendly)


Greece 0-2 Senegal (03/03; Friendly)
Greece 2-2 North Korea (25/05; Friendly)
Greece 0-2 Paraguay (02/06; Friendly)

Players to watch

South Korea – Ji-Sung Park: The Taeguk Warriors captain and their most familiar face is their star man. Park’s boundless energy is the heartbeat of South Korea’s midfield and if he is on song the Tigers of Asia can pose a threat to anyone. The former PSV Eindhoven player has gained big match experience with Manchester United and he will be looking to utilise that experience to guide his side through the group stage.

Greece – Georgios Samaras: The Celtic target man is one of those frustrating players; athletic and pacey with good physical strength, he has all the attributes to be one of the best strikers on the planet. Unfortunately Samaras’s career to date hasn’t really got off the ground and he is currently plying his trade in the Scottish Premier League without setting the word alight. Could he finally fulfil that undoubted potential on the biggest stage of all?

Match prediction

Finishing second in Group B behind Argentina is the realistic objective for these sides which makes this a must win game for both nations. After conceding two goals in each of their last three games Rehhagel may set the Phalanx up in a defensive mindset; similar to the strategy which won them Euro 2004. Playing at sea level in Port Elizabeth will suit South Korea’s high energy game and they will be eager to get off to a winning start in the Rainbow Nation. It looks set to be a tight game with neither side giving much away. A draw wouldn’t be an unsurprising result, but South Korea could sneak this one by the odd goal.

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