Referee (C) communicates with Video Assistant Referee (VAR) during a group F match between Sweden and South Korea at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, June 18, 2018. Sweden won 1-0. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, June 18 (Xinhua) -- A penalty awarded after referee applying to VAR helped Sweden defeat South Korea 1-0 in their opening game of Group F at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Monday.
This is a crucial and must-win match for both teams, just as South Korean coach described a day ago. South Korea took control of the game right after the kick-off whistle was blown. Playing with aggressiveness, quickness and agility, South Korea kept pressing Sweden, who have been absent for World Cup stage for 12 years, in the first ten minutes.
The Swedes, however, created an excellent opportunity in the first fruitless 45 minutes, when Marcus Berg's shot was denied by South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeonwoo's marvelous movement plus a bit luck.
The only gaol emerged in the second half. Viktor Claesson fell in the penalty area when Kim Minwoo tripped him over, but the game went on with no whistle. Under the pressure of the Scandinavian spectators and constant protests of the Swedish players, the referee decided to apply to the reviewing system, and the foul ended up a penalty kick. Andreas Granqvist, Swedish captain, didn't waste the precious chance to give his team a lead.
Repelling a barrage of attacks from the South Koreans led by Tottenham's winger Son Heungmin and energetic substitute Lee Seungwoo, Sweden sealed the game with a final score of 1-0.
Sweden will play reigning champions Germany on June 23, and South Korea are to battle with Mexico the same day.