16 years ago South Korea were the talk of the footballing world as the host nation went on an unexpected rampage on the familiar turf. They qualified from the group stages easily, beating both Poland and Portugal in the process. Shockingly, they knocked out Italy and Spain to reach the semi finals, only to be eliminated in their 1-0 loss to Germany.
Unsurprisingly, they have never quite hit the same heights as that dream summer. They lost 1-0 to Sweden in their opening game of the 2018 World Cup, and that result made it seven World Cup games on the bounce without a win. They have lost five of these, and with Mexico and Germany still to face off with you wouldn’t expect that run to end anytime soon.
Unfortunately for South Korea, they can’t even look back on a good performance on Monday. They barely made a dent in the Swedish defence, ending the game with just two shots registered and none on target. Son Heung-min, one of the stars of Tottenham this season, was largely anonymous throughout the match.
Mexico were the polar opposite to their Asian opponents. They faced the much more difficult prospect of a clash with reigning world champions Germany, but right from the start they looked threatening to an unusually vulnerable German defence. Joachim Low’s side simply seemed incapable of containing Mexico when they broke, and they got their reward ten minutes before the break as Hirving Lozano coolly slotted it past Manuel Neuer after a fantastic assist from Javier Hernandez.
Lozano is fast becoming a household name for football fans. The 22 year old PSV attacker enjoyed a breakout season in Eredivisie and has carried that form into his international appearances. He topped the Mexican scoring charts in World Cup qualifying and now has eight international goals to his name, and we think he’s a great price to add to that tally on Saturday.
As far as the overall result goes it’s hard to see beyond a Mexico win here, and the odds seem extremely generous considering the polarity between the nations’ performances. We’re backing a Mexico win here, and considering South Korea failed to get a single shot on target against Sweden and Mexico have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight games a Mexico Win to Nil bet looks good too, along with a 2-0 correct score predictions.
South Korea Predicted Lineup: Cho, Y. Lee, Jang, Y. Kim, M. Kim, Ki, J. Lee, Koo, Hwang, Son, S. Kim
Mexico Predicted Lineup: Ochoa, Salcedo, Ayala, Moreno, Gallardo, Herrera, Guardado, Layun, Vela, Lozano, Hernandez
South Korea and Mexico have each won two, drawn two, and lost two of their six meetings with one another. Their only meeting in the World Cup was back in 1998, with Mexico running out 3-1 winners in France.
Park Joo-Ho could miss out here after being forced off against Sweden, but other than that it’s expected to be the same lineup that played on Monday.
Mexico could start with the same team that shocked Germany, although Jesus Corona will be hoping to start up front after a mixed performance from Javier Hernandez.