12 min South Korea continue to dominate possession, though neither side has yet threatened to create anything.
9 min “Hello,” says Tony Campisi. “Following the MBM from the office in Lafayette Louisiana. 7am here and looking for a South Korea draw today. Being Italian, this WC is quite a relaxing event without my side in it.”
An abstainer is never disappointed, eh.
8 min Korea are starting to play some vaguely promising football. They’ve certainly started better than Sweden.
6 min “Let’s fire up the infallible World Cup predictor I completed before a ball was kicked,” says Stu Morphet. “I’m pleased to announce that today will be Sweden 2-0 South Korea. Definitely 100 per cent accurate so far. Not four results out of 12 with no correct scores…”
5 min Hwang scurries down the right to win a corner for South Korea. It’s curled deep and punched away by Olsen.
4 min It’s been a slow start to the game, with precisely nothing of note to report.
2 min “I love that New Zealand were the only undefeated team in the 2010 World Cup,” says Brad McMillan. “But, such are my feelings about Sweden in international tournaments, I’m always amazed they haven’t had the same distinction, before or since. Maybe it’s an England-supporter thing, but they just have ‘draw’ written all over them. As such, I agree with your 1-1 prediction, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the first 0-0 of the tournament.”
That’s not a bad shout. You can get odds of 15/2 on that score. Put the farm on it!
[Legal disclaimer: the Guardian is not actually encouraging you to put the farm, or anything else, on a 0-0 draw.]
1 min Peep peep! South Korea, in white, get the match under way. Sweden are in yellow.
The players emerge from the tunnel to the familiar sound of the White Stripes classic ‘Oh Michael van Gerwen’. It’s a lovely sunny day in Nizhny Novgorod.
An email! “It strikes me that for a long time Sweden had a fairly ordinary side with some attacking quality that elevated it (Ljunberg, Larsson, Ibra) but I don’t really see that anymore,” says Gerry Scott. “For that reason I think I fancy the South Koreans to just nip it one nil. That said my predictions are usually hopelessly, gloriously wrong.”
I know what you mean – but Swedish sides are very good at knowing their limits, and this team are strong defensively. I think they’re the likelier winners, though I’m going for 1-1 because I’ve bet the farm on it. Yesterday’s result has made it really difficult for either team to qualify.
If you want to follow the build up to the England game, we have a live blog running alongside this MBM. Walk out the door, see if I care, go on and go now – but don’t turn around, cause you’re gonna see my heart breaking.
Any predictions? I have a theory that you should bet a donkey on a 1-1 draw every time a Scandinavian team plays at a major tournament, so Sweden 1-1 South Korea it is.
And here’s today’s
World Cup Fiver, written by my good friend Rob Smyth.
Pre-match reading (England v Tunisia, tonight)
Victor Lindelof is sick – no, not in that sense – so Pontus Jansson comes into the Sweden side. The South Korea is officially as below, though they could all be wearing different numbers to confuse the Swedes.
Sweden (4-4-2) Olsen; Lustig, Granqvist, Jansson, Augustinsson; Claesson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg; Berg, Toivonen.
South Korea (4-3-3) Cho Hyun-woo; Lee Yong, Jang Hyun-soo, Kim Young-gwon, Park Joo-ho; Lee Jae-sung, Ki Sung-yueng, Koo Ja-cheol; Hwang Hee-chan, Kim Shin-wook, Son Heung-min.
Referee Joel Aguilar (El Salvador).
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Sweden v South Korea in Group E. These are two of the more likeable, inoffensive teams at any World Cup – so of course there’s been a spying controversy in the build-up. You can read all about it here.
Right, enough of that, let’s proceed to the football. The common attitude before the first game of a World Cup is to make sure you don’t lose – but this is arguably a must-win game for both teams. Mexico’s win over Germany has disturbed the natural order of the group, and Sweden and South Korea are likely to feel the force of Germany’s reaction to that defeat. With Mexico already on three points and Germany likely to finish on six, even a draw today would leave Sweden and South Korea under a fair bit of pressure.
I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? I don’t know why, at every World Cup, we mentally fill in the wallchart and are then surprised when every single match doesn’t go according to plan.
Let’s deal what has happened rather than what might happen. Sweden surprised the world, but probably not themselves, by beating Italy in a play-off to reach this tournament for the first time since 2006, while South Korea sneaked through ahead of Syria and Uzbekistan.
South Korea have enriched the World Cup in modern times, particularly in 1986, 1994 and 2002, but this doesn’t look like a vintage side. Mind you, you could say the same about Sweden. For the first time since 1992, they go into a tournament without Henrik Larsson or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They are a decent team, but one without stars. You don’t need to spy on them to know that.
Kick off is at 1pm BST, 3pm in Nizhny Novgorod.