VAR penalty gives Sweden a win | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 19, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:20 AM, June 19, 2018

VAR penalty gives Sweden a win

With wounded world champions Germany up next, Sweden could not have got off to a better start to their World Cup campaign than Monday's win over South Korea, said coach Janne Andersson after their 1-0 victory at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

"Three points in the bag," he chortled at the end of the post-match press conference after a 65th-minute penalty, awarded only following a Video Assistant Referee review, secured the win.

"I felt the wait for the VAR was unnecessary. There was no doubt that the penalty should have been called straightaway. Luckily the referee had VAR to help him to be able to make the right decision,” Andersson said at the post-game news conference.

Kim Min-woo brought down Viktor Claesson in the box but Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar initially waved the Swedes away, before being called back to consult and then awarding a spot kick that captain Andreas Granqvist expertly tucked away.

"Today's match was so much more important to win after Germany lost. But we were focused on winning the game anyway. The opportunities for us now going forward are so much better,” the coach added.

Sweden meet Germany, who were stunned 1-0 by Mexico on Sunday, in Sochi on Saturday in the second game for both countries in Group F.

The two countries have had some absorbing clashes of late, none more so than a thriller in Berlin six years ago when the Swedes came back to draw after slumping to 4-0 down.

"Germany are the ones faced with a dilemma. We are going to prepare in the best way possible and then we'll see. We need to dare to do even more."

Over the next days, Andersson said, Sweden will concentrate on sharper finishing, where they let themselves down on Monday as they dominated against the timid Koreans and should have won by a bigger margin.

“It was a little bit uncomfortable until we had managed to score. I was very pleased that we got the result and very proud with the lads' performance,” Andersson added.


Striker Son Heung-min blamed himself for the defeat, saying he did not do enough to help lift his team mates in their Group F game.

Son is regarded as the only world-class player in the Korean side and he felt a burden of responsibility given his profile from the Premier League.

“I'm really disappointed with my own performance. I feel I should be the one who makes things happen for my team mates but I didn't play well,” Son told reporters. “It didn't go to plan and I just didn't play well,” the Tottenham Hotspur forward added.

Son started on the right side of a three-man attack, but was largely anonymous as his team did not manage a single effort on target

“We forwards have to responsibility for this. When we won the ball, we still had too much distance left to go forward,” he said, looking crushed and sighing often as he answered questions in both Korean and English.

Overall, it was a disappointing performance that left the Koreans, with games to come against Mexico and Germany, on the back foot.

“It's pity that we didn't get a good result. We knew it was important to not surrender a goal first," Son added. "If we conceded one, we'd have to score two, so we played very cautiously.

"We had all worked hard to prepare for this match. We have to accept this result and reorganise ourselves for Mexico.

“But they played really well to beat Germany. They were quick. But (upsets) like that sometime happen in football. If we can be mentally strong we could do the same but the World Cup is no easy stage,” Son added.

South Korea play Mexico in Rostov-on-Don on Saturday before meeting world champions Germany.

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