South Korea take on Sweden in Group F of the 2018 World Cup Preview
East and West meet as South Korea (also known as the ‘Korea Republic’) take on Sweden in Group F of the 2018 World Cup (WC).
South Korean sides are now a constant fixture in the WC finals, and this will be the ninth consecutive appearance for them at a finals, while Sweden have qualified for the first time since 2006.
Both teams have some historical claim to fame. South Korea had a shock run in 2002, where they made it to their only ever semi-final appearance. Sweden have finished in third place twice (1950, 1994) and as runners up once (1958).
Sweden enter these stage ranked 24th in the world ranking, and have to be considered favorites against Korea who are ranked 57th. They are, however, still trying to find their way without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and they’ve scored just four goals in their last nine games.
As expected, South Korea qualified from their Asian qualifying group without fuss, but it was a closer call than usual, as both Syria and Uzbekistan could have overtaken the Koreans with different results in the final game-week.
Technical midfielder Emil Forsberg may be the one to watch for Sweden, having scored four goals in the qualifiers.
Midfield stalwart Sung-Yong Ki is a key player for South Korea. Currently on 82 international appearances, he’s hunting his tenth goal in the national colors this tournament.
Sweden have not scored 2+ goals in any of their last nine matches.
Eight of those matches have produced under 2.5 goals (six yielding a total of under 1.5).
South Korea have kept a clean sheet in just one of their last twelve matches in the WC finals.