The returning Son Heung-min could not inspire South Korea as the Tigers of Asia started their World Cup Group H campaign with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay in Qatar on Thursday.
Uruguay captain Diego Godin and Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde came closest to breaking the deadlock when hitting the woodwork in each half, while Hwang Ui-jo wasted Korea’s best chance, skying a shot from 10 yards out with only the goalkeeper to beat.
It was a game of few chances as neither Son on one side nor Uruguay’s fearsome strikers Luis Suarez, Darwin Nunez and Edinson Cavani could find a clear opening.
With matches against Ghana and group favourites Portugal to come, both sides seemed to be more intent on not losing than pushing for the win at the Education City stadium in Doha.
Both coaches were satisfied with the point.
“This was a very good match from our side, we were better in the first half, we had many moments where we controlled the match,” said Korea’s Portuguese coach Paulo Bento.
“After half-time we were not at our best, we suffered a bit because they are high quality players but we also did well in that situation and conceded very little.”
Uruguay’s Diego Alonso added: “It was a good game, a tight game with two competitive nations.
“The first half, especially the first 20 minutes we struggled, we couldn’t get the ball off them.
“But it was good that we were able to adjust afterwards and we dominated the second half.”