|South Korea`s Park Chu-young (left) vies for the ball against a Croatian defender on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)|
South Korea dropped to Croatia 4-0 in a football friendly held Wednesday in London, with the helpless defense unable to contain the crafty Europeans.
At Craven Cottage, home of the English Premier League club Fulham, Croatia scored two goals in each half of the resounding win.
Croatia came into the match ranked 10th in the world, 24 spots higher than South Korea on the lastest FIFA table. South Korea is now winless in its past four international contests, dating back to September.
South Korea had a spirited start to the match, with Son Heung-min and Ki Sung-yueng testing the Croatian defense in the opening 10 minutes.
The South Koreans held their ground against the Croatians until striker Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. The Bayern Munich star put his head on an Ivan Rakitic free kick, fighting off South Korean midfielder Shin Hyung-min as he charged toward the net.
Manduzkic currently leads the top German league, Bundesliga, with 14 goals. Darilo Srna put Croatia up by two in the 40th, floating one over Jung Sung-ryong in the South Korean net.
As he dribbled up the right wing, Srna faked a pass to his right and forced the back-pedaling defender Choi Jae-soo to move in that direction. That gave Srna just enough room to launch a shot that caught Jung flat-footed.
On the third Croatian goal, Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric threaded a pass between two defenders to set up substitute Nikica Jelavic, who fought off Jung In-whan to put a rolling shot past Jung.
Mladen Petric, another substitute, added the fourth score for good measure, easily getting past the deflated defenders for a shot from the center of the box.
Ji Dong-won had South Korea's best opportunity in the 38th minute, taking a cross from Lee Chung-yong for a shot barely kept out by Stipe Pletikosa in the Croatian net.
In the 64th, second-half sub Lee Dong-gook had a wide open chance after a rare Croatian defense mishap, but his left-foot strike sailed just wide of the right post.
This was South Korea's last match before the final round of the Asian qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIFA World Cup resumes next month. With four games remaining, South Korea sits second in Group A, one point behind Uzbekistan with one game in hand. It
needs to finish among the top two in the group to secure its eighth consecutive World Cup berth.
In the qualifying tournament, South Korea was held to a 2-2 draw by Uzbekistan in September and fell to Iran 1-0 the following month, slipping from first to second in the group standing. Then, in a friendly match in November, South Korea lost to Australia 2-1. (Yonhap News)