NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia -- South Korea fell to Sweden 1-0 in their World Cup Group F showdown on Monday, unable to put a shot on target after wasting a promising start.
Swedish captain Andreas Granqvist converted a 65th-minute penalty following a video review at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and the 24th-ranked Europeans held on for a clean sheet victory over 57th-ranked South Korea.
This was South Korea's first loss in their World Cup opener since 1998.
South Korea will next face world No. 15 Mexico at Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday. Mexico stunned the defending champions Germany 1-0 on Sunday.
South Korea put on some early pressure before Sweden turned the tide in their favor. For all their superior possession numbers early, South Korea made just one shot attempt, and none on target, in the first half, while Sweden had eight attempts, with two on target.
Sweden broke the deadlock in the 65th minute thanks to Granqvist. Moments earlier, Viktor Claesson was taken down by Kim Min-woo in the box, but referee Joel Aguilar initially let the play continue. He later signalled for a review by the video assistant referees, who determined that Kim committed a foul after all by tackling Claesson without touching the ball.
Granqvist then stepped up and put it to the bottom right corner past South Korean keeper Jo Hyeon-woo, who'd made some spectacular saves earlier to keep the match scoreless.
South Korea kept buzzing around the Swedish net, with nothing to show for their effort. Second-half sub Lee Seung-woo, making his World Cup debut at 20 in the 73rd minute, failed to spark the stagnant offense. (Yonhap)