East and West meet as South Korea (also known as the ‘Korea Republic’) take on Sweden in Group F of the 2018 World Cup (WC).South Korean sides are now a constant fixture in the WC finals, and this will be the ninth consecutive appearance for them at a finals, while Sweden have qualified for the first time since 2006.Both teams have some historical claim to fame. South Korea had a shock run in 2002, where they made it to their only ever semi-final appearance. Sweden have finished in third place twice (1950, 1994) and as runners up once (1958).
Sweden enter these finals ranked 24th in the world, and have to be considered favourites against Korea who are ranked 57th. They are, however, still trying to find their way without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and they’ve scored just four goals in their last nine games.
As expected, South Korea qualified from their Asian qualifying group without fuss, but it was a closer call than usual, as both Syria and Uzbekistan could have overtaken the Koreans with different results in the final gameweek.