Who? South Korea - Mexico
Where? Rostov Arena, Roston-on-Don
When? June 23, 17:00 (CET local time)
South Korea (Yossi Medina)
Even in the worst-case scenario, South Korea couldn't imagine that they will begin the World Cup so badly. More than the defeat against Sweden, there is one thing that is bolder: South Korea didn't made a single shot on target during the game.
The Korean coach, Shin Tae-Yong will need to find a solution how to make his team more dangerous. It seems that Son Heung-Min, who usually has good performances in Tottenham Hotspur, is struggling to provide the same level in the national team. It's even harder when the center forward is Kim Shin-Wook, who plays in the K-League and scored 10 international goals in 51 caps.
A lot of pressure will be on Kim Min-Woo, the player who made the foul that led to the Swedish penalty kick. Kim plays in Sangju Sangmu, a club that representing the Korean army. If the coach Shin will make him to forget that incident, Kim Min-Woo will lead South Korea defense in this decisive match.
South Korea is fighting for their last chance in this World Cup. Another defeat will mark their way back home too soon.
Mexico (Meir Lozowick)
After beating Germany, Mexico find themselves in an unfamiliar situation: being the favourites of the group. Before the tournament, the match against Germany was the one that Mexico could loose up and yet fight for qualifying from the second place. Not that anyone in Mexico will complain, but this situation put a different type of pressure on the team. Euphoria, excessive over-confidence, and realization that the hardest hurdle is behind them could drop the positive tension & focus.
Unlike the match against Germany, Mexico will not arrive as an underdog but as a big favourite against South Korea. The coach Juan Carlos Osorio must prepare the team differently. South Korea is way less physical than the Germans and play in a total different way. If against Germany, Mexico played with counter attacks, against South Korea they will need to control the game with high possession and be the dominant team. Mexico has players like Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera that know how to hold the ball and distribute it to the attack, but the decision making on the last part of the pitch has to be much better than against Germany.
One of the players that could get into the action is Raul Jimenez. Jimenez is a completely different striker than Chicharito. Jimenez is a big and tall striker that can hold the ball, and more importantly can be the target man in the South Korean area. He was the super sub in Benfica and scored some several important goals that helped Benfica to win two titles in Portugal. Yet, Jimenez had enough of being substitute striker and just before the World Cup began, he moved to Wolves, the newly promoted team of the Premier league in England. Even before his new adventure, Jimenez would like to demonstrate that he can be decisive as a starter. There is no better place to demonstrate it other than the biggest stage of the world.