Granqvist nets winning penalty as Sweden secure narrow win over South Korea

Sweden got their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start thanks to a 1-0 defeat of South Korea in Nizhny Novgorod.Andreas Granqvist scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, after VAR helped referee Joel Aguilar award a spot kick when Kim Min-woo challenged Viktor Claesson in the area. Sweden had further chances to extend their lead – Forsberg going closest with a curling effort – but they failed to breach the Korean defence before the final whistle was blown. Korea themselves looked defeated from the moment Granqvist’s penalty nestled in the back of the net, with no clear opportunities coming their way to beat Olsen and restore parity.STAR MANCho Hyun-woo, the South Korea goalkeeper, was the only reason Sweden’s victory was not a more emphatic one. Despite playing for the last-place team in the K League, Daegu, who have the worst defensive record in the division, Cho looked more than cut out for the highest level of the game. His save from Berg in the first-half was truly world class, and he made a number of other impressive stops. It says a lot that Sweden, who largely dominated, could only score from the penalty spot.MOMENT OF THE MATCHReferee Joel Aguilar consulted VAR to award Sweden the decisive penalty, coming after Kim Min-woo challenged Viktor Claesson in South Korea’s penalty area. It looked a clear spot kick in real time, and when the replays were viewed, it was evident Kim came nowhere near making contact with the ball as he fouled Claesson.LINE-UPSSweden: Olsen, Augustinsson, Granqvist, Jansson, Lustig, Claesson, Larsson (Svensson 81′), Ekdal (Hiljemark 71′), Forsberg, Berg, Toivonen (Thelin 77′)Subs not used: Johnsson, Lindelof, Olsson, Guidetti, Helander, Krafth, Rohden, Durmaz, NordfeldtSouth Korea: Cho, Yong Lee, Jang, Young-Gwon Kim, Park (Min-Woo Kim 28′), Jae-Sung Lee, Ki, Koo (Lee Seung-woo 73′), Hwang, Shin-Wook Kim (Jung Woo-young 66′), SonSubs not used: Seung-Gyu Kim, Jeong, Oh, Yun, Ju, Hong, Moon, Go, Jin-Hyeon KimGROUP F TABLE Despite South Korea starting brightly, it was the Swedes who had the best of the play. In the opening period alone goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo was called into action numerous times, with one fine double save keeping the game a stalemate; the ball fell to Marcus Berg just yards out from South Korea’s goal, but Cho was down quickly to divert his shot into the air, and he reacted well to then get back to his feet and punch the rebound wide.Sweden captain Granqvist was also denied, Jang Hyun-soo tackling brilliantly at his feet after he ran onto Berg’s neat flick, while Ola Toivenen later called for a penalty after going down under pressure from Sung-yeung Ki.The referee denied the claims, and also did the same to the Koreans, who appealed when Heung-min Son was tackled by Ludwig Augustinsson in the area.South Korea had their best spell of the match in the 10 minutes after the half-time break, though Robin Olsen was not seriously threatened in the Sweden goal.And that spell of pressure ended when Kim fouled Claesson in the box to concede a penalty, awarded after the referee consulted VAR; Granqvist stepped up to take the resultant spot kick, and he coolly rolled the ball into the far corner of Cho’s net to put his team in front. 3 3 3 Kim’s foul on Claesson was called as a penalty after VAR was consulted Sweden captain Granqvist scored the winning goal from the penalty spot read more

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