Andreas Granqvist's strike gets Sweden off to a flyer, watch video

Posted June 20, 2018

Sweden is sitting pretty after its first World Cup 2018 game.

And if you're South Korean coach Shin Tae-yong, you figure out how to work that to your advantage.

Although South Korea failed to get a promising result in the end, it was Jo who at least the kept the game a one-goal affair.

Tottenham's Son Heung-min created a rare Korea opportunity as he broke away from Granqvist but he was unable to pick out a colleague in the box.

The win is also their first win in their opening game of a World Cup since 1958.

Sweden have struggled for goals in recent outings but Andersson has worked hard to address the issue. It made their life a lot easier as the game hit the later stages and they held on for what was an all too comfortable victory.

Unfairly, much more has been made of former talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic's absence rather than Sweden's successes in bypassing Italy to reach the World Cup Finals in Russian Federation. But it's football and the decision was a penalty, of course it's disappointing.

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It wasn't a flowing performance from Sweden, but securing the win will come as a huge relief to coach Janne Andersson and his team. - The first shot in this match came after exactly 20 minutes - the second longest wait for a first attempt in a World Cup match since 1966 (20:59, Netherlands vs Costa Rica in 2014). Nevertheless with Emil Forsberg and a fit-again Albin Ekdal pulling the strings for the Swedes, it appears that they probably don't need him. Yet every time it has been used so far, it has been used well.

The Swedes, playing in their first World Cup since 2006, were awarded the penalty after Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar consulted a video screen on the sideline. "Since we now have one loss, we must play more aggressively".

"I think there was no doubt about this penalty, it should have been called straight away", said Andersson. Claesson goes over in the penalty box and Sweden are demanding a spot-kick!

In a response to criticism off his defensive naiveties, coach Shin has selected a total of nine defenders to take to Russian Federation.

Sweden began their second half marching forward and inside the Korean half, but the latter side, who was sitting deep, quickly gained the possession. The Swedes will next face the Germans on Saturday (Sunday NZT), while South Korea plays Mexico on the same day. Ultimately, though, there is nothing to suggest they have enough to trouble the other sides in Group F. South Korea has one worldwide star on its team, forward Son Heung-min, who plays for Tottenham in the Premier League.

The Germans were caught napping in the first half at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium and went behind in the 35th minute as Mexico found acres of space to counter attack through the midfield.

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