Luis Suárez scored twice to lead Uruguay to a 2-1 victory over South Korea and advance to the quarter-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Suárez scored the game-winning goal in the 80th minute after a corner kick that the Uruguayan’s used to steer the ball to the forward who then managed to successfully sidestep two South Korean defenders and curl the ball from just inside the left side of the box with a magnificent right-footed strike that went off the right post and into the net.
The AFC Ajax star also scored the opening goal of the game in the eighth minute when his teammate, Diego Forlán, was able to clear some space for himself on the left side of the pitch with a nice left-to-right dribble move and make a cross that snuck in behind the last line of defence and find its way to Suárez on the right side who easily re-directed the ball in.
The cross wasn’t particularly threatening and South Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong really should have scooped it up to prevent the early goal.
Shortly prior to the opening goal, South Korea almost struck first when forward Park Chu-Young saw a great free kick try from a few yards outside the left side of the box ring off the left post that had Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera beat.
The South Koreans would eventually score in the 68th minute and make the game 1-1 from a header by Lee Chung-Yong, set-up by a free kick that Uruguay poorly defended, giving the South Korean midfielder the opportunity, of which he made no mistake.
The goal was manufactured by great offensive pressure by South Korea that included another couple of wicked attempts form Park Chu-Young and a header from Park Ji-Sung that would’ve went in if not for a diving stop from Muslera.
The better South Korean pressure was partly brought about by a Uruguayan team that seemed perfectly content with sitting on the one goal lead they had up to the Lee Chung-Yong goal.
The complacency that Uruguay had shown almost burned them for good when Lee Chung-Young almost found the back of the net again with a shot that, fortunately for Uruguay, was aimed directly at Muslera and was handled easily.
That last attempt really woke Uruguay up again and they became the aggressors after, leading to the Suárez game-winner.
However, after that second Suárez goal, Uruguay almost slipped up again in the 87th minute when South Korean substitute Lee Dong-Gook managed to work his way behind the defence and took a shot that squirmed through Muslera’s arms and, luckily for the Uruguayan netminder, rolled just along the goal line for it to be cleared to safety.
The game was played amongst swirling wind and rain which could explain some of the defensive and goalkeeping miscues.
This is the first time that Uruguay has advanced to the quarter-finals in the FIFA world cup since 1970 where they made it all the way to the semis before being eliminated by eventual winner Brazil, and knocked to fourth-place by West Germany in the third-place game.
For South Korea, this tournament was the first time they had made it to the round of 16 outside of Asia and while it is an improvement over their 2006 World Cup result it still is not what they were hoping for since they had finished in fourth-place in 2002.
Uruguay’s quarter-final game will be played against Ghana, who eliminated the United States 2-1, on July 2 at 2:30 PM EST.