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WORLD CUP 2018: Mighty Mexico topple South Korea to book knockout spot

Mexico have comfortably assured themselves a place in the knockout stage of the World Cup with a well-earned 2-0 win over South Korea.

While Korea started the game desperate to score first, none could muster up a clear chance with Son Heung-min the focal point of the Korean attack. Plenty of chances came their way despite having less than 40% possession early on.

Mexico held firm and composed which got the better of their Korean opponents, drawing fouls and simply outclassing them on all accounts.

Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez could hardly put a foot wrong leading Mexico's attack.

The first half was littered with chances from both sides, yet surprisingly Mexico's possession made Korea look like minnows.

Korea's mishaps began when Jang Hyun-soo gave away a penalty with a mistimed tackle, leading to a handball. No need for the VAR as the referee was perfectly positioned to call it. Vela coolly slotted from the spot to give Mexico the lead at the 26th minute.

Korea were frustrated, giving away an astonishing 24 fouls to Mexico's 7. This trend was well evident in the second half as both sides calmed their attack to focus on the battle of midfield, wrestling for possession for long periods.

Mexico's versatility in all areas proving to be one of their biggest assets of this tournament, their united presence almost impossible to breakdown.

Despite the slowing pace, Mexico dispossessed Korea to launch a beautifully sweeping counter attack, finished off by none other than Hernandez. The talismanic striker notched his 50th international goal and scored at a 3rd successive World Cup.

Korea could not come up with an answer for Mexico's efficiency, even spurning a golden opportunity due to a lapse in Mexico's defending. If they couldn't score it on a silver platter there was just no way that Korea could get themselves into a comfortable rhythm.

The sides shared an incredible 30 shots between the two, Mexico showing more quality and danger on the ball.

Son Heung-min's effort were not to go unrewarded, the Tottenham winger found himself enough space to try a daring curl that left Ochoa no chance.

Despite the late drama, a late yet marvellous consolation goal was not enough for Korea as Mexico secured their second win in the group stage for the first time since 2002.


South Korea - 1 (Heung-min 90+3)

Mexico - 2 (Vela 26', Hernandez 66')

Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don

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Chris Sermeno

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