In a game considered the most winnable in group play by both teams, South Korea actually looked the part, outplaying Greece and taking them down, 2-0, on Saturday morning (Stateside) at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to open Group B play.
South Korea outshot a sloppy Greece team 17-6 and capitalized on multiple mistakes to score both goals and keep the Greeks on their heels throughout the match.
A foul by Greece deep in its own territory gave South Korea a free kick and its first goal, while a misplayed ball on an easy pass 25 yards from the net set up South Korea's second score.
Player of the Game
Park Ji-Sung, South Korea
The left midfielder kept pressure on a shaky Greece defense all match long and provided his squad some breathing room on a heads-up play. Ji-Sung stole the ball deep in Greece territory and beat two defenders himself before fooling the goalkeeper with a nifty left-footed shot. Even with a 2-0 lead, he and the rest of the South Korea players kept Greece off balance for the remaining 40 minutes.
South Korea jumped to an early lead after Greece gave them a free kick from the corner in the seventh minute. A perfectly placed ball landed at the feet of Lee Jung-Soo, and all he had to do was tap it into the open net for a 1-0 lead.
Although it had a number of chances before the 52nd minute, South Korea doubled its lead thanks to the aggressive play of Park Ji-Sung. Hoping to catch Greece defender Vasilis Torosidis off guard, Park Ji-Sung sprinted at him as the defender trapped a soft pass in the middle of the field. After Torosidis was unable to control the ball, Ji-Sung scooped it up and raced into the box, beating the last defender and outrunning Torosidis before sending a low, left-footed shot past Greece goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas.
The last time South Korea lost a World Cup match when scoring first was at France in 1998, a 3-1 loss to Mexico. There were 17,000 empty seats in the stadium for Saturday's first match. Greece defender Vasilis Torosidis received the only yellow card of the match.
South Korea takes on Argentina at 7:30 a.m. (ET) on Thursday, June 17 at Soccer City Stadium. Greece plays Nigeria in Free State Stadium at 10 a.m. (ET) on June 17, as well.