Swedish Mikael Lustig and South Korean Jang Hyun-soo chase the ball. (Matthew Childs / Reuters)
Sweden vs. South Korea
Group F, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod
Team match Sweden-South Korea Steven Goff of the Post chose to finish third and fourth, respectively, in Group F has a new importance because, after Germany's surprising defeat to Mexico, the winner of this match has the opportunity to jump on the Germans in Group F.
As a result, South Korea came out strong, putting pressure on Sweden even when the question of whether South Korea could maintain the intensity. 21 minutes into the game, Cho Hyunwoo of South Korea made a save to Marcus Berg, who could not believe his disgrace.
The match was not terribly convincing until it was lifted by the Mexico-Germany result. As ESPN points out, the Swedes have not won in the last seven matches of the World Cup and South Korea have not won in their last six World Cup matches.
A little more than an hour before the start of the match, Sweden announced that Pontus Jansson would start on Victor Lindelof, who is under the weather. Here's a look at the initial lineups:
This game is likely to attract a lot of Italian fans who will hate to see, even more than a little salty for how Sweden recovered the Azzurri from the tournament. A group of Italian fans in Canada pulled out an advertisement in a Swedish newspaper, explaining how they would be encouraging "Everyone but Sweden!"
Do not tell the Swedes, who have left in droves ( reports that more than 30,000 are in Russia, compared to about 2,000 South Korean fans).
One of Asia's most consistent performers, South Korea, which has qualified for each World Cup since 1986, advanced through a weak qualifying section. Coach Uli Stielike was dismissed midway through qualifying after a defeat against Qatar and draws in the last two games of the country. He was replaced by Shin Tae-yong.
The World Cup is here. Do you want smart badytics, opinions, visualization guides and more? Subscribe to our one-month newsletter . Each match day until the final July 15.
When: Monday, June 18, 8 am East
How to watch on TV: FS1.
How to broadcast online: Fox Sports and the Fox Soccer Match Pbad and FoxSportsGo.com applications.
How to look in Spanish: Telemundo.
How to look in Canada: Networks TSN and CTV of Bell Media, the TSN GO app and TSN.ca/live.
- Sample of the last World Cup: Round of 16, 2006.
- Best result: Subchampion of Brazil in 1958, when the tournament was in Sweden.
- Remarkable: Sweden is a semifinalist on four occasions, but this is their first trip to the World Cup since 2004. They also advanced to the round of 16 in 1998 and 2002.
- FIFA World Ranking: 24. Ranking World Championship: 22.
- Sample of the last World Cup: Group Stage, 2014.
- Best result: Fourth in 2002, when the tournament was held in South Korea and Japan.  Remarkable: This marks the tenth appearance of South Korea in the World Cup.
- FIFA World Ranking: 57. ELO World Ranking: 39.
[Landon Donovan is free to root for Mexico at the World Cup. Now, about how he’s doing it …]
Players to Follow
Sweden Emil Forsberg has an ability to feed the killer, but do not bother looking Zlatan Ibrahimovic ; he is no longer playing for the Swedish national team. Jakob Johansson whose goal sent Sweden to the World Cup, will miss the tournament with a knee injury. South Korean team star Tottenham Son Heung-min is known for his counterattack ability and should be the most recognizable player for many American fans. (I had 18 goals and 11 badists for Tottenham this season)
Belgium vs. Panama: Great hopes for the Red Devils (11 a.m. Eastern)
Sweden: vs. Germany in Sochi, June 23, at 2 p.m.
South Korea: vs. Mexico in Rostov-on-Don, June 23, 11 a.m.
Complete schedule, rankings and results
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