By 90Min
June 22, 2018

South Korea come up against Mexico in Rostov, as both sides gear up for their second match in Group F. South Korea weren't up to scratch in their 1-0 defeat to Sweden, and they will be up against it if they fail to get a victory.

Shin Tae-yong's side were unable to create any clear cut chances to trouble the Swedish defence, and star-man Heung Min-Son was marked out of the game by some stout defending.

Mexico on the other hand are in cloud nine after their surprise 1-0 victory against heavily favoured Germany.

El Tri were sensational and they were more than worthy of the three points as they played Germany off of the park. They're counter-attacking exploits were epitomised by the performance of their winger Hirving Lozano, who's cool finish midway through the first half proved to be the difference between the two sides. 

They will now be looking to not just qualify for the round of 16 but to top the group in the process.


Classic Encounter

This is not the first time the two sides have met in the World Cup, as they previously faced off against each other 20 years ago at the 1998 edition in France.

It was the Central Americans who got the better of their Asian counterparts of that occasion, winning 3-1 in front of a crowd of 39,000 in Lyon.

Marcus Brandt/GettyImages

South Korea surprisingly took the lead in the first half thanks to a goal from midfielder Ha Seok-Ju. Incredibly, the same man then went on to earn himself a red card just a minute later after his clattered into the back of Jesus Ramirez. South Korea were able to hold the lead until Mexico equalised in the 55th minute thanks to a goal from substitute Ricardo Pelaez.

Mexico soon asserted their dominance and they went on to take the lead through their star man Luis Hernandez. Hernandez then doubled Mexico's lead in the 84th minute to secure all three points for El Tri.


Recent Form

South Korea come into this clash struggling for form, having lost four of their last six matches. Though these results include some pre-tournament friendlies, confidence is bound to be dented heading into the Taegeuk Warriors most important game of the tournament.

Mexico meanwhile have won three of their last six encounters, and crucially, put in a stunning performance in their opening group game. The Mexicans will look to build upon the nature of that performance, as they look to secure their place in the last 16 with a group game to spare.


Team News


South Korea are likely to be without left-back Park Joo-Ho after he sustained an injury in the first half against Sweden. Otherwise they will have a fully fit side and the only question is whether they see fit to make any tactical changes after their disappointing first match.

Elsa/GettyImages

Mexico have a fully fit 23-man-squad, and there is little to no reason to male any changes from the team that started against Germany.


Predicted Lineups


South Korea (4-3-3): Hyun-Woo, Min-Woo, Young-Gwon, Hyun-Soo, Yong, Ja-Cheol, Sung-Yueng, Jae-Sung, Heung-Min, Shin-Wook, Hee-Chan


Mexico (4-2-3-1): Ochoa, Gallardo, Moreno, Ayala, Salcedo, Guardado, Herrera, Lozano, Vela, Layun, Hernandez


Prediction


If South Korea are to stand any chance of progressing from Group F, it is imperative that they pick up a result in this one. Their final match is against Germany, so picking up any points in that one will prove immensely difficult. 

However, this match may prove to be just as much of an uphill struggle. Mexico will be on a massive high after their victory over Germany and there is nothing to suggest that their attacking talents won't tear apart the South Korean defence.

Lozano's stunning performance has indicated that he is one to watch, and if he performs anywhere near as well in this one, then we could see his name put on a few shortlists for player of the tournament.

Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

The one thing that could count against Mexico is the fact that they won't be able to counter-attack to the extent that they were against Germany. South Korea are likely to sit back to absorb as much pressure as possible so it will be up to Mexico to adapt to this.

They should be able to pick up the victory though, given the talent at their disposal.

Prediction: South Korea 1-2 Mexico

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