A key match early on in Group B, with seemingly one place up for grabs behind probable winners Argentina, and South Korea should be backed to defy their underdog status.
The odds compilers have the 2002 semi-finalists as outsiders to qualify, behind Nigeria and Saturday’s opponents, Greece in the betting, but I rate them much better than that and the 2.10 with Ladbrokes about South Korea in the Draw no Bet market for their opening fixture appeals.
There was no doubt South Korea enjoyed plenty of fortune on home soil eight years ago but they proved in Germany 2006 that their efforts there were no fluke by narrowly missing out on a place in the knockout stages and they can go at least one better here.
South Korea face Euro 2004 champions Greece to kick-off their campaign but a shock repeat victory at an international tournament appears highly unlikely for Otto Rehhagel’s side and they are taken on with confidence.
The best team in Asia qualified once again for the World Cup finals with ease and a mammoth 27 game unbeaten run was only brought to an end late last year by a talented Serbia outfit. South Korea have held their form well of late and, built on a solid defence and tremendous work ethic, I expect them to advance.
I’m convinced Greece should be at least the same price as Park Ji-Sung’s men for the match in Johannesburg but with so much at stake I also want my money back if this edges to a stalemate and that is a possibility. Neither team concede many goals, South Korea are perhaps vulnerable at set plays, and chances could be few and far between.
Greece relied heavily on the goals of Theofanis Gekas in qualifying but the striker will not be afforded as much room as the likes of Luxembourg and Latvia gave him in the preliminaries and there appears little creativity in a fairly static midfield, too. >
South Korea, in contrast, appear to possess a goal threat throughout and will be hoping that Monaco playmaker Chu-Young Park can deliver on the world stage. The 24-year-old has a decent strike rate at international level and will be well-supported by one of the most experienced squads in South Africa.
With Greece having failed to win since November, recent friendly defeats to Poland, Senegal and Paraguay hardly inspire confidence, the bet is a strong one and Group B certainly looks like one to get involved with financially as the tournament progresses.
3pts Back South Korea (Draw no Bet, vs. Greece) @ 2.10 (Ladbrokes)
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