Luis Suárez's 8th minute goal was the only tally of the half, and if the second half plays out the same way as the first's final 37 minutes, Uruguay's 1-0 lead may carry La Celeste into the quarterfinals.
After Suárez's goal, the Uruguayans sat deeper in defense, with their three midfielders habitually camped just yards in front of their penalty box. South Korea was able to dominate possession, holding 57 percent at the whistle, but failed to get a shot on goal, with their best chance after the goal being a long shot from right back Cha Du-Ri.
South Korea did hit the post in the 4th minute when Park Chu-Young's direct kick hit Fernando Muslera's right post.
Four minutes later, a Diego Forlan pass from Uruguay's left flank alluded goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong, finding Suárez unmarked at the back post for an uncontested finish.
The remainder of Uruguay's first half chances can off isolated, counter-attack opportunities.