Uruguay beat S. Korea 2-1, through to World Cup quarterfinals

16:34, June 27, 2010      

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Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates his goal during the 2010 World Cup round of 16 soccer match against South Korea at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on June 26, 2010. (Xinhua/Chen Haitong)

Group A winners Uruguay advanced to the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 1970 here on Saturday, beating Group B runners-up South Korea 2-1 in the first Round of 16 match.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said that it was a tough game but they were delighted with the win.

"There are only 3 million people in Uruguay and we waited a long time for this. I think the team put on a display of discipline, maturity and class, and luckily Suarez scored that amazing goal," said Tabarez.

"I think South Korea had a great match. Perhaps they weren't lucky and we were, but that's football. They surprised us with their approach and a different style of game. They tired us out," he added.

Only eight minutes into the game, South Korean keeper Jung Sung Ryong's fatal mistake gifted Uruguay a comfortable 1-0 lead. Uruguay star forward Diego Forlan pulled wide on the right hand side. Somehow his cross incredibly made it all the way across the goal to partner striker Luis Suarez, who easily tapped in.

It was Uruguay's first ever goal in Round of 16 at World Cup after failing to score in 1990 against Italy and 1986 against Argentina. It was also Uruguay's first goal in any knockout round game since losing 3-1 in the 1970 semifinals to Brazil.

Suarez, the skipper of Dutch first division giants Ajax, said after the game: "I can imagine what it will be like back in Uruguay. I must thank all the people who have always been behind us."

After conceding the goal, South Koreans poured forward but created few scoring chances in the first half.

Uruguay fielded the expected attacking trio today: Forlan, Suarez and Edinson Cavani. But it was not their brilliant skills but a string of silly mistakes made by South Korean defence line featured the first half.

After the interval, South Koreans revived, laying siege to the Uruguay goal, and tied the score in the 68th minute when a free kick was hoofed into the box. English Premiership side Bolton's midfielder Lee Chung Yong nodded home on a heading cross.

This was Lee's second goal in this World Cup. He also found the Argentine net in their Group B encounter.

However, Uruguay started to look for a lead again and materalized in the 80th minute when a corner worked its way to Suarez at the far post. He curled in a fantastic effort from the edge of the box.

"The truth is I didn't even realize the ball was going to go in," said Suarez.

South Korea coach Huh Jung Moo looked somewhat disappointed. "My players did their best but we didn't get into quarterfinals. We had lots of opportunities and I thought Uruguay was lucky to score the goals," he said.

Uruguay and South Korea had met four times previously and Uruguay won all every time. The two sides last played in World Cup in 1990, when Daniel Fonseca scored a last-minute goal to gift Uruguay a 1-0 win in group stage.

Source: Xinhua

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