Uruguay and South Korea tested each other in a high-paced game that ultimately lacked a killer finish, ending in a goalless draw as the two sides kicked off their World Cup campaign.
Both sets of fans spurred on their teams during a match that was entertaining even without goals, at Education City Stadium in Doha on Thursday.
Uruguay – known as La Celeste – came closest as Diego Godin hit the post with a header in the first half. Federico Valverde hit the post again in the 89th minute with a long-range effort.
South Korea also had several chances and will be frustrated that Hwang Ui-jo could not do more after he found himself unmarked in the 37th minute.
South Korean talisman Son Heung-min was fit to play with a face mask after his recent eye socket fracture. At the same time, there was only a place on the bench at first for veteran Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani who eventually replaced Luis Suarez in the second half.
Despite an array of attacking options, including Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez, Uruguay could not break the deadlock. This is the fourth stalemate of the World Cup, with several games being cagey affairs.
Despite a lack of goals, the atmosphere in the stadium was electric, with South Korean fans banging on drums throughout the game.
Al Jazeera’s Faras Ghani was at the game. “It’s just one of those games where it’s almost impossible to figure out which team has bigger support in the stands,” he said. “Every move by either side is being cheered. A sea of blue blending into the red. With the neutrals carrying both flags. And the football on show isn’t that bad either.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal will meet Ghana later on Thursday in the group’s other match.