Uruguay v South Korea: Betting Preview

By Dan King under the supervision of Lucas Mondelo

Group H: World Cup Matchday 1

Portugal will start its journey in the World Cup against Ghana, but then the Portuguese will face Uruguay and South Korea. Let’s learn more about the next challenges of Cristiano Ronaldo’s team!

Uruguay Summary

Although very much a permanent fixture in modern World Cups, qualifying for Qatar was far from easy for Uruguay.

Two large winless streaks among the 18 matches threatened to derail the run toward the middle East. The first lasted four games and brought concern but the second batch lasted for five – bad enough to end Oscar Tabarez’s 15-year stint as boss.

The management switch from Tabarez to Alonso took place last December and the form improved immediately. 2022 has been exceptionally good and brought confidence back, winning seven of nine matches and conceding just twice.

Alonso has a good blend of experienced veterans along with promising newcomers in this campaign. The famous Cavani is likely to be a starter when the match sharp, but the striker who now plays for Valencia is not 100% and so could begin as a sub.

The big injury worry is at defence where they need energy and pace to combine with old pros like Godin. Ronald Araujo is a big player for Uruguay, but the Barcelona centre-back hasn’t played since late September. He is yet to return to full training and at this stage even playing the final group game is in doubt.

South Korea Summary

The mood is strong and the nation is excited to build on the success of 2018. Only Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Germany are on a long streak of making consecutive World Cups.

Outside of South Korea, there are suspicions about them being a one-man team. While Tottenham’s Heung Son-min is of hero status in his native country, they have shown other talented men and strengths exists in the team as well. The defence as a unit has shown it can a big asset for the nation coming into Qatar. A dozen clean sheets have been kept during their 16 qualifiers. Their only loss came after they had already booked their spot.

There have been various high-profile opponents in preparation, including meetings with Uruguay and Ghana. June’s hammering (5-1) by Brazil was a reminder of what can be expected if they can get out of the groups.

Son was the main injury concern for South Korea, but his recovery has gone perfectly. He will start wearing facial protection for a fractured cheekbone, so perhaps not at 100%.

Paulo Bento is yet to settle on a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 both for this game and going forward. Either way, Bento is not expected to start Hwang Hee-Chan against Uruguay due to a slight injury, though he will be available as a sub.

Betting Analysis

Looking at the 1×2 betting market, Uruguay is a favourite @ 1.74. South Korea are the outsider priced @ 5.50 to get the victory. Should the game end all square in a draw, punters would be rewarded @ 3.55

On the Asian handicap betting market, we have Uruguay giving a -0.75 @ 1.98 start. The Koreans +0.75 @ 1.88 can be backed for punters who feel they could keep this one close at worse. A narrow one-goal loss would see their backers only lose half the stake; anything better pays as a full win. This is possibly the value bet here.

Finally looking at the under/over goals where the line is now set at 2.25 having opened at 2.5. The downward momentum on the prospect of goals is understandable for a nervy opening game. South Korea has some attacking concerns and both teams have solid defensive units. The first goal could be important. Over 2.25 is @2.05 and Under 2.25 @ 1.79.