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Qatar tribune



Former champions Uruguay were denied by the post twice as they were held 0-0 by South Korea in the teams’ World Cup opener on Thursday.

Diego Godin’s header shortly before the interval and Federico Valverde’s 89th-minute blast hit the left upright.

South Korea will meanwhile rue missing their best chance from the completely unmarked Hwang Ui Jo in the 37th, and their talisman Son Heung Min then aimed wide in the closing stages.

The fourth stalemate of the Qatar tournament sees both sides on one point in Group H, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal meeting Ghana in the other game on Thursday.

“I always want to win but we didn’t take our chances. But both sides will be happy to share the points,” Son told German broadcaster ZDF.

Son was able to play with a face mask after suffering an eye socket fracture recently while playing for his English club Tottenham Hotspur.

“The injury was not too severe,” Son said. “The World Cup is a dream for a footballer. I am very happy to play for my country and I am very proud and enjoy it a lot.” Godin said: “It was difficult to get into the game, we had no clear chance and had to fight our way in. South Korea gave us little space and we were not precise enough. It shows that the World Cup is very balanced.” There was only a place on the bench at first for Uruguay veteran striker Edinson Cavani. He eventually replaced Luis Suarez, who had started up front with Darwin Nunez, in the second half.

The South Americans came close shortly before the break when captain Godin headed a cross from the right against the post.

By then they should have been a goal down but Hwang incredibly fired over the bar from some eight metres while completely unmarked off Kim Moon Hwan’s cross from the right in the 37th.

There was some anxiety on the South Korean bench when Son was hit on the foot by Martin Caceres, who was booked for the offence, but the forward was able to play on.

Uruguay became more lively after Cavani came on with just little over 20 minutes left - and he soon had a shot blocked and just failed to connect with a cross-shot from Nunez.

Uruguay had beaten South Korea 1-0 in their first World Cup meeting in 1990 and they almost stole victory again when Real Madrid midfielder Valverde’s long-range blast hit the left post in the 89th.

However, it could have also gone the other way when a minute later Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet gifted South Korea the ball but Son aimed inches right - much to the dismay of their big number of fans on hand in Doha.

“It felt like a home game, it was unbelievable support. I am very grateful that we have such amazing support,” Son said.

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