Uruguay-Korea Republic preview

Group A winners Uruguay take on Group B runners-up Korea Republic on the back of their impressive performances against South Africa and Mexico. Under the guidance of Oscar Tabarez, the Uruguayans have become one of the most well-balanced sides at this year’s finals, organised in defence and clinical in attack.

Meanwhile, Huh Jung-Moo’s men have nothing to lose in this match, having already fulfilled their initial goal of reaching the second round for the first time on foreign soil. The winners of this match will advance to the quarter-finals to face USA or Ghana in Johannesburg on 2 July, with the losers set to make a premature return home.

The match
Uruguay-Korea Republic, Round of 16, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, 16:00 (local time)

On paper at least, Korea Republic should be no match for Uruguay. La Celeste have an almost perfect record against the Taeguk Warriors, winning all four games, scoring seven times in the process and conceding only once. And the Uruguayans enter their fifth encounter with the South Koreans as the favourites, considering they have yet to concede a goal at South Africa 2010 and boast a couple of in-form, world-class strikers.

For their part, Korea Republic have looked vulnerable in defence, especially in their games against Argentina and Nigeria. Although the east Asians have scored five times – their most prolific form in the group stage of any FIFA World Cup – they also suffered their worst defeat in 12 years, going down 4-1 to the Argentinians. However, the Taeguk Warriors can take heart from their new-found source of goals - well-crafted free-kicks.

Players to watch
Diego Forlan v Park Ji-Sung

Having scored a brace against the hosts, Diego Forlan is at the core of Uruguay's three-prolonged attack. The Atletico Madrid forward is also the most capped player in the current squad and has completed all 270 minutes of Uruguay's matches thus far.

Korea Republic captain Park Ji-Sung became the second player from Asia to score in three FIFA World Cups when the Manchester United midfielder found the net against Greece. Coincidentally, both Forlan and Park have been named the Budweiser Man of the Match twice in the group stage.

The stat
4 – Uruguay and Korea Republic have met four times in the past, with La Celeste emerging victorious on each occasion. In their group stage meeting at Italy 1990, Daniel Fonseca scored a last-gasp goal to inspire the Uruguayans to a 1-0 victory.

What they said
“We’ve showed that we are a tough team to tackle. We’re trying to do what we had exactly in mind before the tournament. I don’t think we’ve achieved that yet, but Uruguay is now a difficult opponent for anybody,” Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay coach

“Although we haven’t had good results against the teams from South America, the group stage match against Argentina has given us some good lessons on how to deal with Latin American sides. We all know how to defend and attack against them, and we’ll show a different side of ourselves than in the group stage,” Park Ji-Sung, Korea Republic captain

Voice of the fans
“It'll be an uphill battle for Korea. The Korean team should get their defence in order if they do not want to repeat of game with Argentina... It will be an exciting game to watch, especially if both teams fight like it was their last game,” minilint (USA), FIFA.com user.

The question
Will Uruguay be able to keep their streak of clean sheets going against the lively South Koreans?