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Sweden See Off Korea Republic In Tight Affair

A gutsy Sweden began their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign off with a 1-0 victory over Korea Republic on Monday.

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South Korea started the game with much of the possession and created a few half-chances early on, most notably Kim Shin-Wook's header that flew by the near post.

The first booking of the game came in the 12th minute win Kim Shin-Wook received a yellow card for a late sliding challenge on Marcus Berg close to the halfway line.

As the game carried on, Sweden got into it a bit more, and created their first chance in the 20th minute, after a through-ball pierced the Korean defence into the path of Berg, who could only fire it into goalkeeper Cho Hyun-Woo's feet.  

South Korea were forced to make their first substitution of the match in the 28th minute, when Park Joo-Ho went down injured. Kim Min-Woo replaced Park, who had landed awkwardly as he tried to keep the ball in play with a header.

The Swedes took control of the half from then on and created further chances in the 29th and 47th minutes, but the half ended all square at the break

The second half started much like the match did as South Korea began with good possession and a few early chances at goal.

The best chance of the game for Korea came in the 51st minute, but Koo Ja-Cheol's header could only find the side netting, and four minutes later the Asian side picked up their second yellow card after Hwang Hee-Chan fouled Ludwig Augustinsson.

Sweden eventually got hold of the ball again and started putting pressure on Korea's backline, but soon picked up their first booking as Viktor Claesson went in late on Hwang.

In the 63rd minute, the VAR system awarded Sweden a penalty, after Claesson was brought down inside the box, with captain Andreas Granqvist who netted home the first, and only, goal of the match.

Both sides used their three allocated substitutions in the game, and continued creating chances as the match went on, but the frantic pace slowly fizzled out, although the Koreans did have an excellent opportunity to equalise in injury time, when Hwang was completely unmarked in the box, but he could only head the ball wide.

Sweden will now go top of the group along with Mexico, who beat reigning world champions Germany 1-0 on Sunday.

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