Saturday, June 12, 2010

South Korea, Argentina, and Messi Dominate

Two wins in the second day of the World Cup, while Korea Republic and Argentina might've dominated possession and the amount of chances created, they were unable to finish off many opportunities.

With these two results, Group B is poised like this:

Korea Republic   (3)
Argentina            (3)
Nigeria                (0)
Greece                (0)

Korea Republic is ahead of Argentina because they scored a goal more in their match, and Greece is below Nigeria because they suffered a goal more than the African country.

Argentina - Nigeria
Argentina's Gabriel Heinze (L) heads to score against Nigeria during their 2010 World Cup Group B soccer match at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg June 12, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

It must be said that this Argentina team is beginning to look quite scary; with Tevez, Higuain, Di Maria, and Messi all starting, you can see that they're going out to score goals. They started right away in the 6th minute from a corner, Heinze completely unmarked was able to bullet his header into the top left corner. It's important to note that a Nigeria player was running towards Heinze to mark him, but Walter Samuel restrains him in the box, practically setting a pick so that his teammate can score. While the Messi show had already begun before the goal, it was about to get a lot better.

Argentina's Lionel Messi is fouled by Nigeria's Haruna Lukman (L) during a 2010 World Cup Group B soccer match at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg June 12, 2010.   REUTERS/David Gray (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
The small Argentinean (Messi) mesmerized the Nigerian defence, leaving them standing in their spots as he tried to curl it in, putting it just wide a couple of times. Nigeria's goalkeeper Enyeama was fantastic as he stopped anything that Messi tried to create or finish off. Argentina wasted plenty of tap-ins and 1 on 1 opportunities as Nigeria provided good spurts of pace on the counter-attack, often putting Argentina's disorganized and aging defence under pressure. As Maradona piled on forwards, Argentina racked up 7 shots on target with selfish play often stopping us from seeing the second goal.

While the match ended 1-0, it was definitely full of wasted opportunities by Argentina, and a couple by Nigeria. If you don't want Messi to always win the man of the match award, you'd have to pick Vincent Enyeama, the Nigeria goalkeeper, because he stopped the score-line from reaching embarrassing heights for Nigeria.

SOCCER/FUTBOL WORLD CUP 2010 COREA VS GRECIA Action photo of Ji Sung Park of Korea, during game of the World Cup 2010 at Port Elizabeth, South Africa./Foto de accion de Ji Sung Park de Corea, durante juego de la Copa del Mundo Sudafrica 2010 en Port Elizabeth, Sudafrica. 12 June 2010 MEXSPORT/ETZEL ESPINOSA Photo via NewscomKorea Republic - Greece

An imperious showing to say the least, South Korea were extremely dominant, keeping posession and attacking with speed and organization. Greece seemed dumbfounded and shocked the first half as Jung-Soo Lee (completely unmarked) knocked in the first from a set piece about a meter in front of the Greece goal. Then in the 55th minute, Manchester United's Ji-Sung Park followed up stealing the ball from a Greek defender's bad first touch, and slotting it home with his left. South Korea had other good efforts on goal, but they were comfortable keeping possession.

It was about midway through the second half that Greece woke up, Salpingidis and Kapetanos were brought on for Charisteas and Samaras, providing inspiration for the attack. Greece began to press higher up the field, creating chances especially for Gekas as South Korea found themselves limited only to quick bursts of the counter-attack. Both defenses seemed to often mark their man at the very last second, leaving their goalkeepers to do plenty of work.

I knew South Korea/Korea Republic would be good, and that's why I put them as coming out of the group second behind Argentina in all my World Cup pools and competitions. The game ended 2-0 for Korea Republic, the first win in this 2010 World Cup.

There will be a full wrap up on the England - USA match coming up after the game!

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