What started out as total dominance ended up being a little bit trickier for Argentina than what the scoreline indicates. Maradona’s men went on the attack from the first whistle and were up 1-0 after Park Chu-Young turned the ball into his own net in the 17th minute. Gonzalo Higuain added a second 16 minutes later and it appeared Argentina were on their way to a worry-free victory.
Enter Martin Demichelis.
The Argentine centre-back pulled a Nick Garcia and allowed Lee Chung-Yong to waltz in all alone on goal and score at the stroke of half-time, giving South Korea life.
After the break, Yeom Ki-Hun’s near miss highlighted a somewhat nervy first 15 minutes for Argentina. But the South American powerhouse found their first-half from and put on a scintillating display of attacking football for the last half hour, with Higuain finishing off his hat-trick for a fully deserved 4-1 win.
The bad news for Argentina? Walter Samuel left with a muscle injury in the 23rd minute.
Notes from Joe
- Leo Messi: Witch or a shape-shifting lizard? Still hasn’t scored, but he’s strung together two dominate performances. A sight to behold. Soak it all in, people.
- Messi basically played in the hole behind Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez, with Juan Sebastian Veron on the bench and Maxi Rodriguez playing on the right side of midfield. I like him there. Sees a a lot of the ball, and scares the life out of defenders with the way he runs at them.
- Argentina’s first goal may have had an element of luck to it, but that’s what happens when you attack and put pressure on opposing defenders– you get breaks.
- After watching that brutal error from Martin Demichelis, you have to wonder how long it’s going to be before Nicolas Burdisso is selected ahead of him.
- Surprised to see right back Cha Du-Ri on the bench. Thought he was great against Greece. Hadn’t read anything about him being hurt, but I suppose that’s a possibility.
- Worth noting that Argentina were playing their second straight match in Johannesburg, while the South Koreans had to travel from Port Elizabeth.
Notes from Kristian
- Now that was first class. Best game of the World Cup this far. Delighted for Gonzlalo Higuain. I thought he was great in the first game. He’ll get his press now. Jose Mourinho is going to love him at Real Madrid.
- Tactically, without the ball Argentina are far too wide open. It’s fun to watch for the neutral but they will get destroyed by a better team if they don’t change.
- Another sloppy error by Martin Demichelis, a central defender who far too often loses concentration.
- One way to solve defensive issues at right back for Argentina: Jonas Gutierrez threw the ball away stupidly to pick up his second yellow of the World Cup and will miss the next match.
Notes from James
- So, so proud. Best performance so far. I knew you had it in you. Well done Jabulani.
- I’d like to see Sergio Aguero against a better side, but regardless he was amazing coming on as a substitute. Have to give Diego Maradona credit, that was an inspirational switch. Also a class move to take of Gonzalo Higuain to and ovation. Good way to build up spirit.
- I wonder if the Aguero/Maradona’s daughter relationship was a dastardly plan hatched within the offices of the Argentina Federation?
- Maradona must have been livid with Gabriel Heinze’s intentional handball.
- "The Asian Baggio", "The Asian Rooney"…getting a little sick of this. How about we just say they’re good footballers?
Note from Thomas Dobby
- Argentina must have run out of adult kits. Jonas Gutierrez got stuck with a child’s size. Should have given it to Messi or Tevez.
1. Lionel Messi
2. Gonzalo Higuain
3. Javier Mascherano