Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Argentina crack Greece and Korea Republic goes through

Again, two very different games from each other, while some might've expected Greece - Argentina to have lots of goals and Nigeria - Korea Republic to be tight, it was the opposite.

Here's how group B stands after the two results:

Argentina               (9)
Korea Republic     (4)
Greece                   (3)
Nigeria                  (1)

June 22, 2010 - Polokwane, LIMPOPO, South Africa - epa02216859 Argentine forward Lionel Messi in action during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group B preliminary round match between Greece and Argentina at the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane, South Africa, 22 June 2010.
Messi the man of the match
Greece - Argentina

This game was going to be the ultimate clash, Greece going total defense, and Argentina going total attack, but to tell you the truth, practically nothing happened in the first half. I truly wish I could say more but there was no memorable event in the first half, Veron sprayed a couple of passes wide, Messi tried to dribble a couple of times, and Aguero had a shot on goal, but that's about it.

In the second half however we saw Samaras, Greece's lone striker get behind Argentina's shaky defense often, and in the 48th he was able to get an open goal but he blew the shot wide. A great opportunity that would've been an amazing upset had he scored one of the easiest of goals. Argentina continued with their incessant possession, Messi had a great chance from a long range free-kick which Tzorvas did well to parry, and just minutes later Bolatti lashed a point-blank volley from a corner which Tzorvas held very well.

Then in the 77th Argentina found the back of the net, a lucky bounce from a corner allows Demichelis to rifle the ball into the back of the net from close range for the lead. Then in the 86th we saw Messi smash a post after a great show of dribbling, and finally in the 89th we saw another great dribble and shoot by Messi which Tzorvas parried only to have substitute St. Martin Palermo follow-up for Argentina's second.

June 22, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Nigeria v South Korea FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group B - Durban Stadium, Durban, South Africa - 22/6/10..Nigeria's Vincent Enyeama fails to save South Korea's second goal scored by Chu Young Park (Not Pictured.
Park Chu-Young's free kick sneaking past Enyeama
Nigeria - Korea Republic

The scoring started right away in the 12th minute with Nigeria getting a cross in for Uche to anticipate his defender and shoot past Jung Sung-Ryong. Korea Republic answered soon after with the equalizer in the 38th, Lee Jung-Soo comes in at the back post from a free kick to nip in an equalizer.

In the second half Korea Republic took the lead with Park Chu-Young, a free kick which tricked Enyeama into taking a fatal step the wrong way as he couldn't reach the ball. Then in the 66th minute I saw the worst miss I've ever seen, whether it be Youtube or real life, this miss was unfathomable, be sure to see it somewhere because you will be amazed. Ayila squares the ball across to Yakubu, goal-keeper misses it, so do all the defenders, and Yakubu right in the middle of the six-yard box with an open net and the perfect pass somehow taps it wide.

Then in the 68th Nigeria get a penalty thanks to Kim Nam-Il who sliced down Obasi, Yakubu steps up to take the penalty and thankfully makes up for his missed chance earlier and slots it into the back of the net. Then in the 80th with the score tied 2-2 Martins is 1 on 1 and decides to be cheeky and try and chip the keeper, but it goes wide and Nigeria is eliminated and South Korea goes through.

Uruguay wins 1-0, Mexico still go through and France lose 2-1

The train-wreck that is the French team has finally halted, coming last in the group, France is just about a complete disgrace.

Here's how group A stands after the final day of results:

Uruguay           (7)
Mexico             (4)
South Africa    (4)
France              (1)

Uruguay and Mexico are the teams that go through, with Mexico squeezing by thanks to their goal difference. This makes South Africa the first host nation not to get through the group stages.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez (L) scores past Mexico's goalkeeper Oscar Perez during a 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 22, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Luis Suarez's header entering the net for the winning goal

Mexico - Uruguay

In this match both sides could've done with a draw and they would've gotten through the group stages, but they both went for the win. An exciting match which should've been 1-0 to Uruguay in the 6th minute, when Suarez anticipated a defender but curled his shot past Perez just wide. Then in the 22nd Mexico's Guardado almost had the goal of the tournament, a rifled shot from 35 yards out struck the underside of the crossbar only to bounce out into the penalty box.

SOCCER/FUTBOL WORLD CUP 2010 MEXICO VS URUGUAY GOOL VITAL Action photo of Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrating a goal, during World Cup 2010 game held at the Royal Bafokeng stadium of Rustemburg, South Africa./Foto de accion de Luis Suarez de Uruguay celebrandpo un gol, durante juego de la Copa del Mundo 2010 celebrado en el estadio Royal Bafokeng de Rustemburgo, Sudafrica. 22 June 2010 MEXSPORT/DAVID LEAH Photo via Newscom
Suarez celebrating
Uruguay found their only goal before the half ended, Forlan with a ball out wide to Cavani who crosses for Suarez to neatly tuck away with a header. A clean and organized goal which put Mexico in a bit of trouble. In the second half, Diego Lugano had a fantastic header parried by an even better save from Perez who somehow got down low enough to push the header out as the defence then smothered the rebound shot by Pereira.

This is when Mexico began to push for the equalizer and they eventually created their best chance of the match, Barrera crossed the ball in for a completely unmarked Rodriguez who from inside the six yard box glanced the header wide. Uruguay were tough in defence and dangerous on the counter-attack, they held out until the final whistle to earn themselves the first spot in the group.

June 22, 2010 - Bloemfontein, South Africa - epa02216099 Bongani Khumalo (top L) of South Africa scores with a header the 1-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group A preliminary round match between France and South Africa at the Free State stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 22 June 2010.
Khumalo heading in the first goal for South Africa
France - South Africa

The French disaster ended up with Anelka being sent home and Evra not starting against South Africa, in Evra's place you saw Clichy at left-back. Things did not start well for France, 20 minutes in and from a corner Lloris goes up to catch the ball and instead flaps at it letting Khumalo head home South Africa's first goal of the match.

Just five minutes later things got worse with Gourcuff being sent off with a direct red for a high elbow as he was competing for a header, a really harsh decision in my opinion, but Gourcuff went in with force and a high elbow. Then in the 37th bad defending from the French let Mphela almost trip himself as he bundled the ball over the line for South Africa's second goal.

France's Yoann Gourcuff (8) fights for the ball with South Africa's MacBeth Sibaya during their 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at Free State stadium in Bloemfontein June 22, 2010. The play ended with Gourcuff being given the red card. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Gourcuff's high elbow which got him sent off
In the second half South Africa continued to make chances with Mphela, who when released 1 on 1 with Hugo Lloris curled the shot onto the woodwork, just barely missing the 3-0 score-line. France got a consolation goal in the 70th minute, Sagna threading a through ball for Ribery to then square to substitute Malouda for the final goal of the 2-1 score.


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