Sweden on Monday defeated South Korea 1-0 thanks to a penalty from captain Andreas Granqvist that was awarded after the referee took the help of VAR. Post the 65th-minute goal, the South Koreans tried really hard in the latter stages of the match to find an equaliser but were repelled by a stubborn Swedish defense. The penalty to Sweden was awarded after Kim Min-woo brought down Viktor Claesson with a clumsy challenge in the box. The referee ran to the sidelines to view the video of the incident and immediately pointed to the spot. Granqvist coolly slotted away the penalty to give his team a much-deserved lead. The Swedes were resolute in defense and denied South Korean attackers Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan any opportunity to score. In the first half, the South Korean team started off strongly but the half belonged to Sweden, who had a multitude of chances to take the lead. Both teams went into the break goalless. South Korea failed to capitalise on their good start, rarely testing the Swedish goalie. As the game wore on, Sweden picked up steam and made regular inroads into the South Korean box but they too failed to score. The win for Sweden puts them in strong position in Group F with defending champions Germany losing their opening match to Mexico. (Highlights: Sweden vs South Korea)
Highlights of 2018 FIFA World Cup Sweden vs South Korea match straight from Nizhny Novgogod Stadium, Russia
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Sweden 1-0 South Korea
19:21 IST: It's done. FULL TIME! Sweden World Cup campaign begins with a WIN.
19:19 IST: 90+1' munutes: Opportunity for South Korea and Its a Miss! The ball goes far away from the goal post.
19:17 IST: 90 minutes are up! 4 minutes of added time. Can Sweden hold on to their lead?
19:15 IST: 87 minutes are up! Its now or never for South Korea. Terrific defensive play from Sweden. South Korean fans are looking really tense in the stands.
19:10 IST: 82nd minute! Flurry of opportunities being created by the South Koreans' but Swedish defence is not allowing them to score.
19:09 IST: 80th minute! Free kick for South Korea but straight into the hands of the Swedish goalkeeper.
19:04 IST: South Korean team is on the charge now but Swedish defense has been strong.
18:59 IST: Substitutions for both the teams. Hiljemark is IN replaces Ekdal for Sweden while S W Lee comes IN for J C Koo.
18:57 IST: Corner for Sweden in the 70th minute. Cleared easily by the South Korean goalkeeper.
18:52 IST: Captain keeps his cool. Andreas Granqvist scores for Sweden. SWE 1-0 KOR
18:49 IST: VAR called up and its a PENALTY for Sweden. Kim Minwoo with a horrific tackle in the 62nd minute and umpire after the review has pointed to the spot.
18:45 IST: So Close! number 11 Hwang Heechan puts in the cross but that was brilliant defense from the Swedish.
18:43 IST: That was a Brilliant Save from South Korean goalkeeper. Saves the ball inches away from the goal line.
18:35 IST: MISS! That was a terrific opportunity for Sweden but Emil Forsberg kicks the ball over the net. Another chance goes down.
18:32 IST: Whistle blows! Second half begins.
18:17 IST: HALF TIME! Its Sweden 0-0 South Korea.
17:16 IST: 45+1': Brilliant header from Viktor Claesson off the corner kick but the ball sails over the net.
17:15 IST: 45 minutes are up! 2 minutes of added time.
18:12 IST: Another nearly moment for Sweden. Marcus Berg brilliantly dodges the South Korean defense, but there is no one to collect the cross.
18:10 IST: After forty minutes into the game, scoresheet is 0-0 for both the teams.
18:04 IST: Brilliant run from Heungmin Son but the cross has been blocked by Swedish defense.
18:00 IST: 30 minutes are up! Sweden are charging in hard but South Koreans have kept them away.
17:57 IST: Forced change for South Korea in the 27th minute. Left-back Kim Minwoo replaces injured Park Jooho.
17:53 IST: After a strong start from South Korea, Sweden are now growing into the game. In the last two minutes Swedish are looking more aggressive with their attacks.
17:50 IST: Brilliant save from South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeonwoo. Denies Sweden the lead.
17:47 IST: Sweden on the charge! Last ditch tackle from Kim Younggwon, avoids the opener for Sweden.
17:45 IST: Fifteen minutes into the match! South Korea clearly seem to have an edge.
17:42 IST: First yellow-card of the match. Shinwook Kim penalized for a bad tackle.
17:40 IST: 10 minutes up! South Korean attackers are moving intelligently on the pitch and creating opportunities.
17:34 IST: Brilliant run from Hwang but the ball has been cleared by Swedish defense. First corner for South Korea, gets cleared.
17:32 IST: First mid-field foul of the game. Sweden with a free-kick.
17:30 IST: KICK OFF! Sweden go in with the 4-4-2 formation while South Korea have gone in with 4-3-3.
17:23 IST: The atmosphere is electrifying here at the Nizhny Novgogod Stadium. Both teams are at the centre alongside match officials for the national anthems.
17:20 IST: We are just 10 minutes away from the kick-off.
17:10 IST: Both teams are at the center, warming up ahead of their first clash of the tournament.
16:40 IST: Starting XI for both the teams announced.
16:33 IST: South Korean team too has arrived at the picturesque Nizhny Novgogod Stadium. Ecstatic Korean fans are all geared up for the all important clash.
16:32 IST: A Zlatan-less team Sweden has arrived!
16:30 IST: Hello and welcome to the live match updates of the Group F match between Sweden vs South Korea
Beginning in 2002, South Korea have not lost any of their first World Cup matches, collecting three wins and one draw. Neither team had an impressive World Cup tune-up before landing in Russia. South Korea played to a scoreless draw with Bolivia and fell 0-2 to Senegal in their friendly matches in Austria. Sweden had 0-0 draws with Denmark and Peru in their World Cup warm-ups at home. There has been an off-pitch battle between the two sides ahead of their Group F clash.
Sweden claimed they've analysed all of South Korea's closed door training in Austria while South Korea accused Sweden of playing the press to distract them. Shin has yet to confirm whether he will use a back three or a back four against Sweden, whose main formation is 4-4-2. South Korea mostly used a 4-4-2 setup in their recent friendly matches. But whether it's a back three or a back four, South Korea kept a two-forward system with Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan playing up front. If using 4-4-2, they're likely to be flanked by two Lees -- Hellas Verona's Lee Seung-woo on the left and Lee Jae-sung on the right.
South Korean captain and Swansea City anchorman Ki Sung-yueng will orchestrate the midfield with his defensive partner Jung Woo-young. Ki will be the man who will distribute the ball and control the team's buildup process. South Korea are likely deploy the center back duo of Jang Hyun-soo and Kim Young-gwon, who are currently the most experienced defenders on the squad. Veteran right back Lee Yong is set to start on the right side of the defense, with former Borussia Dortmund man Park Joo-ho likely to start ahead of Hong Chul and Kim Min-woo.