18.6.10

world cup 2010 - day 7: argentina oozing class, greece rejoices, french humbled (again!)

Argentinas-Gonzalo-Higua--006Favourites Argentina faced South Korea their second match in the Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg. Both teams won their opening matches, with the Argentinians beating Nigeria 1-0, while the Koreans dispatched Greece 2-0. Argentina took control of the game early, and their constant pressure was rewarded when in the 17th minute, Messi’s free-kick was deflected by Park Chu-Yong into his own net. They doubled their lead later in the 33rd minute when Gonzalo Higuain headed in another Lionel Messi free-kick. Despite Argentina dominating the match, South Korea got back into the game in first half injury time, when Lee Chung-Young took advantage of Martin Demichelis’ lapse of concentration, and slot the ball home. The second half was played on the same note, Argentina having the majority of the possession, South Korea, relying heavily on counter attacks. Argentina’s superiority told, when Higuain and Messi tore South Korea’s defense apart, for the former to complete the first hat-trick of this year’s World Cup, scoring in the 76th and 80th minute. Argentina have the commanding lead in Group B, and are virtually qualified for the next round, while the Koreans have a crunch match with Nigeria next. From the evidence, it is apparent that Diego Maradona’s charges certainly look good for this year’s tournament. Not worthy

1248370_full-lnd Greece met Nigeria in the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, for the second match of the day, and Group B. Both teams had lost their openings before, so this is a very crucial match for both teams’ chances of survival in the tournament. Both teams had equal exchanges, but Nigeria seemed to have the upper hand earlier on. They drew first blood when Kalu Uche scored in the 16th minute from a free-kick, the first of such in the tournament. Nigeria looked good from then on, until the 33rd minute, when Sani Kaita, got his marching orders, after an off the ball incident. Vassilis-Torosidis-of-Gre-005 The pendulum swung to Greece’s favour, when Dimitrios Salpingidis scored at the stroke of halftime for the equalizer. Morale was high for the Greeks when the players disappeared into their dressing rooms, and when they reappeared for the second half, they continued where they have left off. Nigeria was limited to counter attacks, and had to absorb everything Greece threw at them. Vincent Enyeama, was particularly outstanding, making saves after saves. However, it was his fault which led to the second goal for the Greeks, when he spilled Alexandros Tziolis header, for Vasileios Torosidis to toe-poke home. Greece managed to achieve their first ever victory in the World Cup. Applause

hernandez-javier100617smThe last match of the day was between France and Mexico at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. France needed to win badly to boost their morale after their uninspiring 0-0 draw with Uruguay in their first match. Mexico meanwhile looked good, and were up for an upset. It was a generally even match, with both teams being able to absorb and adapt to each other’s play. However, it was Mexico who showed more attacking intent, with the French more cautious, though lacklustre, in their approach. The first half ended 0-0, it was in the second half where the match was decided.  Mexico were never up to the level they were in the first, so coach Javier Aguirre brought on Manchester United bound Javier Hernandez. The substitution bore fruit, when he coolly sidestepped Hugo Lloris, before scoring into an empty net. Mexico double the score with 11 minutes to go, when Eric Abidal fouled Pablo Berrera in the penalty area. 1248709_full-lndVeteran striker, crowd favourite Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored the ensuing penalty, giving Mexico a famous win over their more illustrious opponent. They now trail group leader Uruguay on goal difference, and they will only need to play for a draw against them, for both teams to qualify. As for the French, it’s 2002 all over again. Only an unlikely sets of results will qualify them for the next round. Oh go on

June 17
Group A 
FRA 0 MEX 2

Group B
ARG 4 KOR 1
GRE 2 NGA 1

Group A Standings

Pld W D L F A Pts
Uruguay 2 1 1 0 3 0 4
Mexico 2 1 1 0 3 1 4
South Africa 2 0 1 1 1 4 1
France 2 0 1 1 0 2 1

Group B Standings

Pld W D L F A Pts
Argentina 2 2 0 0 5 1 6
South Korea 2 1 0 1 3 4 3
Greece 2 1 0 1 2 3 3
Nigeria 2 0 0 2 1 3 0

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