2014 FIFA World Cup: Russia vs. Korea Republic Pick, Odds, Prediction - 6/17/14
World Cup: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm (Brazil)
The Line: Korea Republic +210 See the Latest Odds
Russia and Korea Republic will kick off their 2014 World Cup experience on Tuesday afternoon.
This is the ninth World Cup appearance for South Korea, a team that has gradually made strides throughout the tournament. The best year for Korea Republic was back in 2002 when they reached the semifinals. While most don’t expect that type of effort again this year, this is a team that can be a matchup nightmare with its high energy and speed. South Korea is a young team that can flip the switch and go on attack in a hurry if the opponent isn’t careful. One player to watch out for is Son Heung-Min, who already has five international goals at the young age of 21. Koo Ja-Cheol is also no stranger to big time performances under the bright lights and will show up big in this match.
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This is Russia’s 10th World Cup appearance and they’d like to make a statement before they host the event in 2018. Unfortunately, Russia will have to do it without their captain Roman Shirokov, who suffered a knee injury. While that does put a severe damper on Russia’s chances, they are led with an experienced goalie in Igor Akinfeev, who allowed just five goals total in qualifying. Defense is something that has certainly improved for Russia since Fabio Capello has become coach. Russia will need to play great defense in order to advance.
This should be a fun matchup, but I think South Korea has the potential to turn some heads once again this year. A young, fast team that plays loose can be deadly.
I don’t like the fact that Russia is playing without its captain and I’m not sure they have enough offensive firepower to hang with a dangerous South Korea offense.
Given the price, the value is on Korea Republic, and that’s my pick.