Group H at the 2022 World Cup kicks-off today as Uruguay face South Korea with the match taking place at the Education City Stadium with Ghana and Portugal the other teams in the group.
Speaking ahead of today’s clash, Uruguay boss Diego Alonso believes he has the “best players in the world” whose fierce national pride makes them contenders for another World Cup run, as the perennial dark horses.
Diego Alonso:“South Korea is the important game. That is the message we have conveyed. Knowing what we want to achieve, we cannot lose sight of what is closest.If we lose sight of that, surely we make mistakes that we can regret.” pic.twitter.com/JB1H6w3Pkv
Alonso said there was excitement and enthusiasm in a team whose preparations were exceptional going into their three matches in Group H, where they also meet Ghana and Portugal.
“Uruguay players are the best in the world, they defend us through thick and thin, that’s the most important tool we have is the feeling the Uruguayan players have, how they identify themselves, the sense of belonging they have.”
World Cup winners in 1930 and 1950, Uruguay, a nation of only 3.5 million people, have a knack of causing upsets and making extended runs during their 14 appearances in the tournament, making them wildcards each time, and a team big names hope to avoid.
Korea Republic manager Paulo Bento reassured anxious fans that Tottenham’s Son Hueng-min would play in the Group H opener wearing a protective face-mask following surgical procedure to stabilise a fracture around his left eye.
“Sonny will be able to play,” Bento told reporters on Wednesday. “I think the fact that he will be wearing a mask is not an inconvenience for him, it’s quite natural for him. We stuck with the plan when we arrived here… But we will see tomorrow how it will be.
“Our hope is that he will be comfortable to the greatest extent possible and use the best strategy so that he can feel at ease during the game. He knows and we know that after his injury we cannot take any risks.”
Bento confirmed that Wolverhampton Wanderers forward Hwang Hee-chan had not recovered in time for the game while the team will take a late call on defender Kim Jin-su.
French referee Clement Turpin has been assigned to oversee today’s clash at Education city. The 39-year-old Frenchman has been an international referee since 2010 and is the youngest official to have achieved that recognition from FIFA, back in 2009 when he was added to the elite list. He is also the youngest referee to have taken charge of a Coupe de France final when he oversaw Lille’s 1-0 victory over PSG in 2011.
Turpin also took charge of last season’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris and will be assisted today by assistant referee 1, Nicolas Danos, assistant referee 2 Cyril Gringore with Istvan Kovacs set to act as fourth official.
source: AS English