November 30, 2022

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South Korea vs Uruguay prediction, team news, lineups

South Korea vs Uruguay prediction, team news, lineups

Two-time winners Uruguay open their 2022 World Cup campaign against South Korea at the Education City Stadium on Thursday.

La Celeste have been in excellent form since Diego Alonso took over from Oscar Tabarez at the end of last year.

The sacking of Tabarez as Uruguay boss following 15 years in the job has thrown their preparation into disarray, despite the positive results they are getting on the pitch.

Alonso has come in and completely transformed a side which was on the floor following some woeful results in South American qualifying, but he still does not know his best starting XI or best system.

Tabarez was dismissed as manager with qualification in serious doubt after four successive defeats, including a humiliating 4-1 loss in Brazil and a 3-0 defeat away in the notoriously difficult altitude of Bolivia.

However, with four qualifiers left after the New Year, Alonso came in and won all four, with impressive away wins to Chile and Paraguay being the highlights, and Luis Suarez still at the centre of everything good in the national side.

He is still undecided on which formation best suits his side though, as 4-4-2 and a 4-3-2-1 have both been used often, but are ultimately untested against strong opposition.

The finer details will not matter as long as they keep up this level of performance in attack and defence though, as they have conceded just twice in his nine games in charge.

Getting the best out of their wide array of attacking options will be important, and Suarez, Darwin Nunez, Edinson Cavani and Maxi Gomez have all been among the goals this year, with Uruguay averaging two goals per game.

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Alonso has repeatedly stated pre-tournament that they are aiming to be world champions, and on current form they cannot be discounted.

South Korea, meanwhile, come into the tournament with an under-fire manager and a squad which has underwhelmed in the build up to Qatar.

In addition to this, the worst possible turn of events struck the side on the eve of the tournament, with Son Heung-min going off injured in the Champions League, requiring surgery on a fractured eye socket.

He has stated he will do whatever it takes to play, because without him, it will affect South Korea both mentally and ability-wise on the pitch.

If manager Paulo Bento opts to risk him from the start, there is also the chance he will not be 100% having had such a disruptive preparation to the tournament.

With their attacking star a doubt, that will put more pressure on their solid defence, but after conceding just three goals in their 10 AFC final stage qualifiers, they have proved they can be relied upon.

Despite their famous win over Germany in Russia, they were left massively disappointed following losses to Mexico and Sweden which saw them eliminated at the group stage.

They find themselves in a very competitive group once again in which they will need to cause at least one upset if they are to progress.

Uruguay possible starting lineup:
Rochet; Varela, Godin, Gimenez, Olivera; Bentancur, Vecino, Valverde; De Arrascaeta, L Suarez, Nunez

South Korea possible starting lineup:
Kim Seung-gyu; Kim Moon-hwan, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Min-jae, Kim Jin-su; Jung Woo-Young, Hwang In-beom, Lee Jae-sung; Hwang Hee-chan, Son Heung-min, Hwang Ui-jo

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Uruguay have been near faultless under Alonso since his appointment a year ago, and with their elite forwards and a solid defence, they should be big favourites here.