South Korea v Mexico preview
Mexico can book a spot in the knockout rounds of the World Cup when they meet South Korea in their Group F game on Saturday.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s side stunned Germany in their opening game, with Hirving Lozano’s superb strike sealing a 1-0 win and another three points would secure their spot in the last 16.
However, manager Osorio says Mexico will not be overconfident at the Rostov Arena: “I hope that we’re not going to rest on our laurels and take our foot off the gas. We know all too well that in football, things can change overnight.
“We’re going to be playing a very robust opponent, even if we have all the chances to win. All the players are focused. We did not come to the World Cup just to beat Germany.”
South Korea slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Sweden on Monday, but manager Tae-yong Shin is hoping forward Heung-min Son can show off his talents in Rostov-on-Don.
“I think he’s the best of all the Asian players but if you look at the game against Sweden we faced a lot of difficulties, we had to play defensively and he had to sacrifice himself a lot and couldn’t play to the best of his abilities,” he said.
“Tomorrow hopefully he’ll have more space and will be able to showcase his real ability.”
Osorio is expected to name a similar line-up to the one that beat Mexico and confirmed the squad were in good health after a flu bug hit the squad before their game with Germany.
South Korea made a surprise inclusion for their opening game, with goalkeeper Hyeon-woo Jo starting between the sticks, and should keep his place after a solid performance against Sweden.
The only previous World Cup meeting between South Korea and Mexico was in 1998, with the Central Americans running out 3-1 winners in the group stages.
Mexico have won all three of their World Cup games against Asian opposition (seven goals for, two against).
Mexico have lost just two of their last 18 World Cup group stage matches (W9 D7).
South Korea are winless in their last seven World Cup matches (D2 L5), losing their last three in a row.
South Korea have failed to score in each of their last two World Cup games – they have never gone three consecutive matches without scoring a goal in the competition.
Mexico have not won back to back matches at the World Cup since 2002 when they beat Croatia and Ecuador in their first two group matches that year.
In their opening group game versus Sweden, South Korea racked up more yellow cards (two) than shots on target attempted (0).
South Korea have failed to keep a clean sheet in 12 of their last 13 World Cup matches, conceding in each of the last seven games in a row.