World Cup 2018, South Korea vs Mexico: 5 Talking Points
South Korea were eliminated from the group stages of a World Cup for the second consecutive edition as Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez combined to propel Mexico into the last 16.
Vela opened the account from the spot after Jang Hyun-soo was penalized for handling the ball in the area, before Chicharito clinically rounded off of a counterattacking move to put the game beyond doubt.
The Taeguek Warriors were unconvincing for the most part of the match and were largely dependent on Son Heung-min to carry most of the burden, who pulled back at the death, but the damage was already done. South Korea have been knocked out.
Here are the major talking points:
#1 Mexico need to tighten some screws at the back
In the historic win over Germany last week, the El Tri frustrated the world champions with well-drilled and organised defending. Keeping things watertight at the back, the Die Mannschaft could find little space going forward and could only muster a couple of half-chances when upped the ante in the final few minutes. Today, that robustness was quite lacking.
The Mexican defence left acres of space at the back for Korea, and Son especially, to run into and there were many nervy moments. Guardado once misplaced a pass that allowed the Spurs star to ran towards the area and strike thrice, while Lee Seung-woo put in some delectable crosses that needed Ochoa's intervention. But the worst moment came in the 75th minute when Rafael Marquez laid a tame backpass towards Ochoa that Hwang intercepted and almost rounded off for Korea's opener.
Mexico eventually did concede when Son let rip one howitzer into the far post, though there was nothing Ochoa could do about it. Yet, the game showed there are kinks in Mexico's armour and Germany, on this day, would've exploited it to their benefit.