South Korea and Ghana are set to face off against each other at the Education City Stadium in a must-win 2022 World Cup Group H game on Monday at 1.00 pm.
While an evenly-contested 0-0 draw with Uruguay wasn’t the most eye-catching way to get their tenth straight World Cup appearance underway, it kept their hopes of reaching the knockout stage for the third time alive.
Tottenham Hotspur talisman Heung-min SOn timed his return from injury to perfection, but he was far from his usual best against the Uruguayans last time out.
Aware that qualification to the tournament’s round of 16 is still in play, the Taegeuk Warriors boss Paulo Bento hopes his headline performer will put a subdued performance behind against Ghana.
Otto Addo’s men find South Korea in an even weaker spot after losing 3-2 at the hands of Portugal in their first World Cup match since an ill-fated 2014 appearance.
Nailed to the bottom of the Group H table ahead of an ominously-looking third-round clash against Uruguay, the Black Stars won’t settle for anything less than three points here.
Long-serving captain Andre Ayew, who was on the scoresheet against Portugal, will spearhead the attack alongside Athletic Bilbao stalwart Inaki Williams, which promises some fireworks.
South Korea’s hopes of avoiding another uneventful fixture look realistic, considering they’ve scored precisely twice in each of their three World Cup matches against African opponents (W2, D1).
However, unless their attacking fulcrum Son finds his feet, the Taegeuk Warriors would risk failing to score for the fourth time in six World Cup outings.
Bento’s team should be safe and sound at the back after keeping back-to-back clean sheets at the World Cup finals for the first team, highlighting their backline as a water-tight branch.
Having won none of their last five games in the World Cup group stages (D2, L3), Ghana could bow out in the first round in consecutive appearances in case of another defeat here.
Regardless of the final score, the Black Stars will be confident about troubling the scoreboard after finding the net in their last six World Cup outings, accounting for the second-best scoring run in African history.
Only two games shy of equalling Nigeria’s record eight-match scoring streak at the World Cup finals, the Ghanaians could whittle down the distance by the end of the group stage.
South Korea vs Ghana Head-to-Head
South Korea and Ghana have never met at the World Cup before but share a long history of friendly encounters.
The Ghanaians thumped their Asian counterparts 4-0 in their most recent meeting in 2014, which forms part of their 75% win ratio across four H2Hs in the 21st century (W3, L1).
South Korea vs Ghana Potential Line-ups
South Korea (4-2-3-1): Kim Seung-gyu; Kim Moon-hwan, Kim Min-jae, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Jin-su; Hwang In-beom, Jung Woo-young; Na Sang-ho, Lee Jae-sung, Heung-min Son; Hwang Ui-jo.
Ghana (5-3-2): Lawrence Ati-Zigi; Alidu Seidu, Daniel Amartey, Alexander Djiku, Mohammed Salisu, Abdul Baba Rahman; Thomas Partey, Mohammed Kudus, Salis Abdul Samed; Andre Ayew, Inaki Williams.
South Korea vs Ghana Prediction
Facing higher-ranked nations in opening-day matches forced both teams to adjust their style of play to contain the possible damage.
Although the results suggest South Korea did a better job, Ghana’s fearless performance against a star-studded Portugal tickled the imagination of the Black Stars fans.
Addo would be well advised to tighten things up at the back, and if that doesn’t come at the expense of the Ghanaians’ spicy attacking movements, the Koreans could face an upset.
South Korea 1-2 Ghana
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