Two tragic defensive errors cost Greece dearly in the opening match of Group B at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals as Otto Rehhagle’s men went down 2-0 to the impressive Korea Republic.

Seven minutes after the restart, Park Ji-sung embarrassed Vyntra, who’s woeful control in the middle of the park turned the ball over to the Korean captain without a whimper.

Slack marking was exposed by Lee Jung-soo early in the first half as he gave the Koreans the ascendancy, before Park Ji-Sung capitalised on a calamitous Loukas Vyntra mistake in the second half, who made the game safe.

Greece entered the match against the Koreans full of hope and expectation, but Rehhagle’s make-shift defensive plays ultimately proved porous.

The Greeks conceded a goal within seven minutes of the commencement of each half and could not breach the Koreans rear-guard at the opposite end of the field.

The late withdrawal of Vangelis Moras forced Rehhagle to reshuffle his defensive line, reverting to a 4-3-3 formation, with the error-prone Vyntra and Avraam Papadopoulos at the centre of the defence.

Unexpectedly, there was no room for Liverpool’s Sotiris Kyrgiakos and the highly fancied Sokratis Papastathopoulos who both stayed on the bench.

Greece began the match the better of the two sides, threatening to score their first ever World Cup Finals goal as early as the 3rd minute

Vassilis Torosidis could have put Greece in front when Giorgios Karagounis’ in-swinging corner kick popped up right in front of him. But Torosidis failed to put his shot on target as his side’s best first half opportunity went begging.

Korea heeded the warning and went one better at the other end of the park.
After just seven minutes Lee Jung-soo met Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yueng’s curling free-kick unopposed in the Greek box and smashed it decisively into the back of the net.

The Korean defender had found himself completely unmarked at the far post as the ball drifted above and between four blue-shirted defenders and custodian Alexandros Tzorvas.

Torosidis might have considered himself lucky to not have given away a penalty when he brushed up behind Lee Chung-yong in the 15th minute but referee Michael Hester waved play on.

But Korea continued to search for a second goal and it should have been 2-0 with 28 minutes played.
Papadopoulos slid in strongly enough to put off striker Park Chu-young who’s low and hard shot was kept out by the left foot of Tzorvas who had dived to his right.

EURO 2004 hero Angelos Charisteas might have levelled proceedings just before the half time break, but he was unable to connect with Torosidis’ cross.

Rehhagle reshuffled the Greece midfield, withdrawing captain Giorgios Karagounis at half time and replacing him with Christos Patsatzoglou.

But no change could have altered the manner in which Korea doubled its lead.
Seven minutes after the restart, Park Ji-sung embarrassed Vyntra, who’s woeful control in the middle of the park turned the ball over to the Korean captain without a whimper.

Leaving the central defender and Papadopoulos scrambling in his wake, Park waltzed into the Greek box and shot across Tzorvas and into the bottom corner for 2-0.

Rehhagle responded by withdrawing Charisteas and Georgios Samaras in quick succession, sending out strikers Dimitrios Salpingidis and Pantelis Kapetanos in search of finding an offensive solution.

The reshuffled triple-pronged strike force reinvigorated Greece as a deficit reducing goal seemed imminent with 25 minutes to play thanks to the spark of fresh legs.

Gekas was first up, controlling a probing ball on his chest with his back to the goal, but a Korean defender cramped his bicycle-kick attempt and the ball sailed over the bar in the 67th.

The Koreans were under genuine pressure as moments later Salpigidis headed at the well-positioned Jung, though the diminutive striker should have done better.

Greece continued its period of sustained pressure, but Kapetanos failed to find the target in the 70th and 71st minutes, his latter effort parried away by Jung as the substitute saw his best chance to break Greece’s goal drought dematerialise.

Although Greece were going down, there was at least a fighting spirit especially in the last 20 minutes of the game.

Gekas forced another fine one-handed save from Jung with a left-foot shot on the turn with nine minutes remaining.

But as Greece attacked, the defence became exposed.
Tzorvas kept the score line respectable when he managed to parry a shot by Lee Chung-yong five minutes from time. There is time to regroup,