Spectacular second-half goals by Marc Degryse and Michel De Wolf earned Belgium a 2-0 victory today over South Korea in the opening games for both countries in the World Cup.
Striker Degryse scored the first in the 52nd minute when he collected a long pass from Enzo Scifo 30 yards out and lobbed the ball high over goalkeeper Choi In Young, who had advanced well out of his goal area.
Twelve minutes later, left back De Wolf added the second, finishing a solo run with a scorching drive from outside the area for one of the best goals of the tournament so far.
Belgian’s experienced defense kept the South Koreans in check.
It took well over an hour before South Korea could even get its first shot on goal.
The Belgians found it hard to break down the packed Korean defense in the first half, although they came close several times, and midfielder Bruno Versavel hit the post in the seventh minute.
South Korea, outsiders in probably the toughest group of the tournament, which also includes Spain and Uruguay, made occasional breaks, with Choi Soon Ho looking most threatening on a field made slippery by rain.
Belgium, surprise semifinalists in the 1986 Mexico tournament, put South Korea under early pressure through Marc Emmers, who broke down the right wing several times.
Acrobatic goalkeeper Choi was the outstanding member of the team, saving his side from a much greater defeat as the Belgians rained shots on goal.
Belgium slowed the pace after their second goal, but South Korea, which failed to survive the first round in two previous World Cup appearances, had its best chance when Hwang Seon Hong’s header was snatched away by goalkeeper Michel Preud’homme.
“The most important thing is the two points,” Guy Thys, Belgium’s veteran coach, said.
“I think it was a well-deserved, routine victory, although I would have liked to have seen two more goals,” he added.
“I told them to start the second half as they had the first, and this time we managed to score.”