South Korea 2 Greece 0
Vuvuzela rating: 6.4 – Moderate bee attack
There was an atmosphere of excitement around this game; both sides thought they could get a positive result to start off their campaigns. The Greek Squad were seen warming up to a repetitive mantra. Chanting “Remember Portugal, we can do it, 2004, 2004, 2004” during their pre-game stretches. But several players seemed distracted in the build up, with striker Theofanis Gekas seen picking his nose and staring into space during the national anthem. The South Koreans warmed up in an energetic manner, led by Manchester United’s Ji-Sung who was heard muttering that he “wished Guus Hiddink was still here”.
Barely 6 minutes gone and South Korea took an early lead when centre back Lee Jung-Soo tapped in a free kick which had been whipped across the Greek goal. With Kostas Katsouranis failed to clear the ball as the cross came in. The scorer then revealed a t-shirt underneath his jersey which appeared to have a picture of a submarine with a huge “X” through it and paraded in front of the cameras. The Vuvuzela’s subsided for a moment and the Korean bench looked nervously at each other.
Throughout the first half Greece has lots of possession but failed to do create many chances. The only attempt of any note was when South Korean keeper Jung Sung-Ryon was startled from a nap he was taking slumped against the near post by a cross and he fumbled the ball, managing to pounce on the rebound. At this point he resumed his state of slumber, much to the annoyance of the fans in the front row, who’s view he was obstructing.
At half time reports emerged that crockery was heard smashing in the Greek dressing room and mysteriously Giorgos Karagounis was substituted nursing a nasty looking cut on his forehead. A tense looking Christos Patsatzoglou entered the fray in his place. Despite what sounded like a lively team talk from Otto Rehhagel, the Greek defence did not improve. In fact, after just 5 minutes of the second half, centre back Loukas Vyntra slipped and mis-controlled the ball, allowing Manchester Uniteds Ji-Sung Park to ghost past him and slot home to double the Koreans advantage.
Greece then made a quick double substitution bringing on Dimitris Salpingidis and Pantelis Kapetanos. Despite this, the South Korean’s continued to dominate and Park Chu-Young scuffed an effort off target when it looked for all the world as if he was going to extend the lead, prompting his own team mates to chuckle at him. Ki-Sung Young had to have medical attention for a stitch, due to his subsequent fits of laughter.
At this point Greece appeared to wake up and attempt to employ the conventional tactic of actually attempting to score, as the Korean side sat back on their 2 goal lead. In the 80th minute Jung Sung-Ryon was really tested for the first time, putting away his deck chair and saving a powerful shot from Gekas. But this was as close as the Greeks came to scoring and South Korea were happy to wind down the remaining 10 minutes soaking up pressure like a new bathroom sponge. It finished 2-0 and Greece can have no complaints, South Korea looked the better side from start to finish. With the suicidal nature of the Greek defending it is a wonder the Asian side did not rack up a more impressive score.
Key stats (Powered by OptaJoke)
78 – The Greek players successfully completed only 78 passes in the game, an average of 0.8 a minute. Ineffective.
8,005 – The ITV commentary team corrected themselves on player’s names 8,005 times whilst describing the action. Pronunciation.
84 –South Korea’s goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryon managed a total of 84 minutes ‘nap-time’ in between Greek attacks. Snooze.