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Thread: Argentina bound for last 16 after hammering South Korea

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    Default Argentina bound for last 16 after hammering South Korea

    SEBASTIAN HASSETT

    June 18, 2010 - 5:10AM
    Argentina 4 South Korea 1



    COACHED by anybody else and Argentina would be the unanimous pick to win this year's World Cup. But even with the supposed handicap of being led by Diego Maradona, La Albiceleste looked every bit the champions in waiting following their 4-1 win over South Korea at Soccer City.
    It wasnít a perfect performance - the Koreans were lively during the second half and claimed a goal following a defensive howler - but it was more than enough to prove that they are the team to beat.
    Argentina might be ordinary at the back but, in attack, nobody comes close. No matter who the opposite might be, Maradonaís men will always generate a mountain of chances and in a World Cup where defence is dominating, this is an unmistakable advantage. The 82,174 present in Soweto will clearly agree.
    Click for more photos Argentina v South Korea

    Goal ... Lionel Messi is lifted up by teammate Angel Di Maria after his free kick was deflected into goal Photo: Vince Caligiuri



    With Spain faltering against Switzerland, and with England, Brazil, France, Italy and Portugal all offering underwhelming starts, attention will soon turn to how Germany - so impressive in their demolition of Australia - fare against Serbia to determine an early favourite.
    Argentina will qualify in first place from their group and the Koreans, despite this loss, can appear in the next stage if they can see off Nigeria in their final group match. Depending on other results, even a draw could be enough, and they wonít necessarily be out of place in such company.

    However, while favouritism at this stage may mean little given the nature of the knockout stages, it would now be a brave man who bets against the Argentines returning to Soccer City in the final.
    On paper, this was a more attacking Argentinian side than the one that bamboozled the Super Eagles, with Carlos Tevez pushed forward to join Gonzalo Higuain in a front two with Leo Messi tucked behind. Ironically, Higuain was considered the weak link of that trio, with the local press calling for the inclusion of Diego Milito, who scored a brace in the Champions League final. Higuain responded here by nailing the tournamentís first hat-trick.
    Evergreen veteran Juan Sebastian Veron was removed following a calf strain, opening up a place for Maxi Rodriguez on the right side of midfield as captain Javier Mascherano was left in sole control of the engine room.
    The changes could have been disruptive but they simply werenít. Again, Argentina dominated from kick-off and again, they had an early lead. After 17 minutes and a slew of chances, they finally broke through when a seemingly innocuous free kick from Messi ricocheted off the ankle of Park Chu-young, who couldnít believe his luck when the ball bobbled straight past helpless keeper Jung Sung-ryong.
    A cause for concern, however, was seeing reliable defender Walter Samuel substituted after just 22 minutes. With Argentina already short of elite defenders, heíll need to be at full fitness for the rest of tournament.
    Eight minutes later, slack marking from the Koreans proved costly as the South Americans doubled their advantage. Rodriguez fired in a cross that was flicked on by Mascherano before the ball fell delightfully for Higuain to nod home.
    Angel Di Maria could have made it three when his dipping volley looked goal bound, only for Jung to tip the ball over the bar. Messi then nearly produced the goal of the tournament, skipping between defenders after receiving the ball from Tevez before chipping the keeper from the edge of the box, only for the ball to fall wide of the upright.
    However, on the brink of half-time South Korea would find a surprise route into the match after Martin Demichellis was caught dallying on the ball. Lee Chung-yong didnít wait to sneak up and surprise him, pinching the ball before finishing past Romero.
    That goal seemed to provide the spark for the Asians in the second half, and while Argentina still had their usual array of chances, the Asians came into the game as Park Chu-young and Yeom Ki-hun pushed excellent chances beyond either post.
    But as so often happens in football, such profligacy proved costly. With 14 minutes to play, Messi fired in a shot that was saved before putting in another that rebounded off the upright and into the path of Higuain, who tapped home with his feet.
    His hat-trick, perhaps the easiest ever completed in World Cup history, was confirmed four minutes later when a magnificent team move ended with the Real Madrid forward prodding home a simple header.
    It still might be hard to comprehend, but the message to the cynics is clear. Itís time to believe in Argentina - and Maradona, too.
    Source: watoday.com.au

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    The Argentinians will struggle against a good team in the elimination phase, their defence is just totally incoherent and unorganised; Maradona is playing with 6 Strikers, 1 holding midfielder and 3 defenders, he has no idea about team structure !!

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    For those who forgot my prediction where they were on top of the world, this is a bump to the thread

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    argentina bound to go home, after being hammered by the germans!
    "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." --Oscar Wilde

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