South Korea record first win at WC 2010, beat Greece 2-0
PORT ELIZABETH: South Korea registered the first win at the 2010 World Cup, a richly deserved 2-0 victory against Greece here Saturday to give them a live chance of achieving their ambition of a last 16 berth.
South Korea, semi-finalists when they co-hosted the competition in 2002, were too quick and too smart for Otto Rehhagel''s Euro 2004 champions, who were sent packing by goals from Lee Jung Soo and captain Park Ji Sung.
The Asian side grabbed this Group B fixture by the scruff of the neck as early as the seventh minute when Celtic''s Ki Sung Yueng''s freekick from beside the left corner flag skimmed over the heads of the Greek defence for Lee to volley in at the far post.
Considering it was Greece with their far superior statures that were supposed to present the setpiece threat the manner of Korea''s goal will have come as a nasty surprise.
Understandably Rehhagel did not look the happiest person among the crowd at the three-quarter full 42,000-capacity Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in this Eastern Cape port.
The Koreans proceeded to run rings round the Greeks and were close to a second goal in the 27th minute after Park Ji Sung''s superb through ball found Park Chu Young only for the Monaco striker''s shot to be deflected over the crossbar by keeper Alexandros Tzorvas.
Rehhagel made one switch at the break, replacing captain Giorgis Karagounis with defender Christos Patsatzoglou.
Seven minutes later Greece, who have never had the pleasure of celebrating a World Cup goal, fell further behind after a masterful charge by the sparky Park Ji-Sung.
The talismanic Manchester United midfielder beat off defenders Avraam Papadopoulos and Loukas Vyntra to slot the ball deftly past Tzorvas, triggering a flurry of flag waving among the Korean fans.
This Group B opener represented a personal milestone for Michael Hester, the first New Zealander to referee a match at the World Cup, and he marked the occasion by dishing out a yellow card to Greek defender Vasilis Torosidis.
Ten minutes from time something unusual took place, Greece had a shot at goal - but Korea''s veteran keeper Jung Sung Ryong lived up to his nickname of ''Spiderhands'' to tip Theofanis Gekas''s close range attempt over the bar.
Group B favourites Argentina take on Nigeria later on Saturday at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.