World Cup

Suarez leads Uruguay into quarterfinals

Luis Suarez (Photo credit should read LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring the opening goal against South Korea.
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Luis Suarez scored in each half Saturday to help Uruguay beat South Korea 2-1 and advance to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in 40 years.

Suarez, who had five shots on target, scored the winner in the 80th minute in swirling wind and rain after sidestepping two defenders and curling a right-foot shot off the post from the edge of the area.

Uruguay vs South Korea


The knockout stage begins as Diego Forlan's Uruguay takes on South Korea in Port Elizabeth.

"I couldn't believe it," Suarez said of the goal. "The truth is I didn't realize the ball was going to go in. In these moments, the only thing I want to do is enjoy."

Suarez gave Uruguay the lead in the eighth with a shot from a tight angle after Diego Forlan's cross from the left. Lee Chung-yong then equalized from a header in the 68th after goalkeeper Fernando Muslera left his line to attempt to punch away a looping ball.

Crushed, the South Koreans fell to their knees at the final whistle as the Uruguayans celebrated becoming the first team to reach the quarterfinals with a group hug in pouring rain in Port Elizabeth.

The two-time world champion Uruguayans had not reached the quarterfinals at the World Cup since making the semifinals in 1970.

"The key to Uruguay's improvement was South Korea's goal," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said. "We stopped thinking about not conceding a goal. Luckily, Suarez scored a spectacular goal that gave us victory."

Park Chu-young sent a 22-meter (yard) free kick off the post before Suarez's first goal. The South Koreans pushed forward, but Uruguay's compact defense forced them to rely on outside shots and they struggled to hit the target. Meanwhile, the South Americans sat back and waited for opportunities to stun their opponents with speedy counterattacks.

Sat., Jun. 26
Uruguay 2-1 South Korea | Recap
USA 1-2 (aet) Ghana | Recap
Sun., Jun. 27
Germany 4-1 England | Recap
Argentina 3-1 Mexico | Recap
Mon., Jun. 28
Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia | Recap
Brazil 3-0 Chile | Recap
Tue., Jun. 29
Paraguay 0-0 (5-3) Japan | Recap
Spain 1-0 Portugal | Recap

Lee Jung-soo lost the ball clumsily in the 27th - a mistake that could have been costly if Suarez had not been waved offside as he rushed toward the goal.

Uruguay was denied a penalty in the 44th when Maximiliano Pereria lobbed the ball over a defender and tried for goal. TV replays showed his volley struck Ki Sung-yong's left elbow, but German referee Wolfgang Stark allowed play to continue.

It wasn't until after the break that South Korea found avenues into Uruguay's box. Park Chu-young sent a hard shot over the bar in the 51st and Muslera made a diving save to stop Park Ji-Sung's header seven minutes later.

Lee finally scored after Uruguay failed to clear a free kick hooked into the penalty area, and he had another chance minutes later, but his shot was too weak and aimed straight at Muslera.

"It would have been a lot better if we had played a bit smarter with a bit more confidence," South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo said. "We did learn this time that we have some areas to improve on."

The Koreans came close late in the game when Muslera couldn't hold substitute Lee Dong-gook's shot, but Diego Lugano controlled the ball as it rolled toward the goal line.

Uruguay and Portugal were the only teams to go through the group stage without conceding a goal. South Korea allowed six, more than any other team that advanced to the round of 16.

South Korea reached the semifinals at the 2002 World Cup it co-hosted with Japan. But this year was the first time it advanced from the group stage on foreign soil, beating Greece 2-0, losing to Argentina 4-1 and drawing 2-2 with Nigeria.

Uruguay won its group by beating South Africa 3-0 and Mexico 1-0, and playing to a 0-0 draw with France on the opening day of the tournament.

With a population of about 3.5 million, Uruguay is the smallest nation remaining in the tournament, but it's a heavy hitter in World Cup history, having won the title in 1930 and 1950.

However, the Uruguayans have struggled to make an impact in the past four decades, with a round of 16 exit in 1990 their best recent result. The success in South Africa has left the nation hoping that the team will restore the nation's football glory.

"I don't want to sound cocky," Tabarez said, "but I think this team is very well-prepared to take on any team."


Uruguay: Fernando Muslera, Diego Lugano, Diego Godin (Mauricio Victorino, 46), Jorge Fucile, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez (Alvaro Fernandez, 84), Diego Forlan, Alvaro Pereira (Nicolas Lodeiro, 74), Diego Perez, Maximiliano Pereira, Egidio Arevalo.

South Korea: Jung Sung-ryong, Cho Yong-hyung, Park Ji-sung, Kim Jung-woo, Park Chu-young, Lee Young-pyo, Kim Jae-sung (Lee Dong-gook, 61), Lee Jung-soo, Ki Sung-yong (Yeom Ki-hun, 85), Lee Chung-yong, Cha Du-ri.

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