Italy’s conqueror’s Sweden started the World Cup with a win, beating South Korea 1-0 in a drab game in Nizhny Novgorod.
The Scandinavians knocked the Azzurri out in the play-offs, and a penalty by former Genoa defender Andreas Granqvist was enough to draw them level with Mexico at the top of Group F.
Victor Lindelof came down with illness before the match, so former Torino centre-back Pontus Jansson came in to replace him.
It was a slow start to the game, but Korean goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo produced a sensational save to keep the score at 0-0.
Marcus Berg was six yards out with the goal at his mercy, and should have given Cho no chance.
As it was his finish wasn’t quite precise enough, and the goalkeeper saved brilliantly with his right leg, before punching the loose ball to safety.
Park Joo-hoo landed awkwardly after going for a header, and had to be replaced by Kim Min-woo.
Berg had another chance with half an hour played, but Kim Young-gwon got across brilliantly to make the block.
Sweden put together their best attack of the game after the break, but Emil Forsberg blazed a curling shot from the edge of the box well over the bar.
Cho was again called into action, getting down to beat away Ola Toivonen’s header.
With just over an hour played, Viktor Claesson went down in the box under a challenge from the substitute Woo.
The Swedes screamed for a penalty, and the VAR review confirmed that their winger had indeed been fouled, with the only question how the referee missed it.
Surprisingly it was former Genoa defender Andrea Granqvist who stepped up, but he made no mistake, cooly slotting the ball into the bottom right. Read more