Argentina vs. South Korea World Cup 2010 Live Blog: Results, Scores and Analysis
Final Thoughts: It's no surprise to anyone that Argentina have the best collection of forwards in the tournament. I mentioned below the analysis showing 5 of the best 20. Obviously they can only play 2 or 3 at a time, but they can also have a huge impact with substitutes like Aguero or Diego Milito.
This game was a lot closer than the score indicates, but Argentina were able to turn it on at the end and put South Korea away. That's the mark of a good team.
That said, playing Di Maria and Maxi Rodriguez in midfield is great when in possession but could come back to haunt them against more physical midfields. They could really use players like Esteban Cambiasso or Javier Zanetti in case they needed a different lineup against stronger opponents.
Where Argentina could really suffer however, is along the back line. They look shaky and seem to be racking up the cards. Having a shaky back line behind a finesse midfield (Mascherano aside) could cost them in the knockout stage.
In the meantime, they are rivalling Germany and Brazil as the most complete offenses at the World Cup.
87' - For 75 minutes, South Korea played Argentina very tight. They can still move on in the tournament with a win in their next game. They need to regroup and be ready for Nigeria.
85' - Smart move by Maradona to sub off Higuain. No need to have him out there at the moment and it's a good chance to get someone else some playing time. South Korea is completely deflated. This game is over.
81' - GOOOOOAAAAAL! Another Higuain goal for the hat trick! Higuain heads home a chipped cross from Aguero after Messi sent him down the left with a phenomenal scooped ball. 4-1 Argentina.
80' - Argentina are easily one of the 3 or 4 most exciting teams to watch in the World Cup so far but I don't see them getting any further than the Quarter Finals. Their defense and midfield will get eaten up against a good team.
77' - GOOOOAAAAAAAAL! Higuain scores again after Messi came down the left side, had his first shot stopped, hit the post on his second try and Higuain banged home the rebound. Somehow the TV announcer just gave all the credit to Maradona for subbing on Aguero - yeah sure. 3-1 Argentina.
75' - Sergio "Kun" Aguero in for Tevez. Let's see what he can bring to this game.
74' - For a team that is down by one with less than 20 minutes to play, the South Korean squad doesn't seem like they're in any kind of hurry. As if to help them out, Heinze just took a yellow card for no good reason.
72' - Mascherano just broke up another promising counter by the Koreans. They seem to start the counter correctly but don't play the right early ball to put enough pressure on Argentina's defense.
70' - Both teams seem content to shoot from outside the box. That may be dangerous enough for Argentina to find another goal, but not for South Korea.
67' - I have to say it, I'd like to have the last 9 minutes of my life back. A lot of possession play, but nothing happening. If South Korea wants this match, they need to press Argentina when they have the ball, attack down the left side and somehow coax Maradona into giving up his secret drug hideout.
58' - Oh boy. South Korea just blew a HUGE chance to tie the match. Yeom Ki-Hun had a great chance on the break as he cut in from the right, but appeared to strike it with the outside of his foot to attempt a short-side goal, but he missed badly. He could be having bad dreams about that one later.
56' - Javier Mascherano just picked up a well-deserved yellow card for a nasty tackle outside the Argentina box, but the Korean team couldn't convert on the FK. The Argentines look worried that the game will slip away.
54' - Tevez just had a great shot from outside the box that was turned aside and Gutierrez managed to get a yellow card for time-wasting. Dumb. He now misses next game.
51' - Some nice short passing from Tevez to Di Maria and on to Higuain resulted in a great ball on net for Argentina, but the Korean goalkeeper came up with another huge save. This seems to be a theme for Argentina over the last few games.
47' - Well, we're underway with the second half. Higuain just made a nice run down the right side and gave it to Messi in space. The little whirlwind, however, decided not to shoot and tried to cut inside of his defender. The defender stood his ground and stripped Messi of the ball.
Halftime Thoughts: A totally dominant performance by Argentina has resulted in only a 2-1 lead at the half. They have been just as wasteful as they were against Nigeria, and ruined the good luck they had with the OG by giving one back at the end of the half.
Maradona needs to find a way for Argentina to be more direct in attack. South Korea need to attack down their left side more often to take advantage of the shaky play by Gutierrez and Demichelis.
46' - GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLL! Lee Chung Yong just took advantage of Demichelis mishandling the ball and chipped it past the keeper. 2-1 Argentina now.
45' - Messi just curled a shot past the bottom right side of the net. It looked like a sure goal when it came off his boot.
39' - Since the goal, Argentina has had possession almost the entire time. South Korea's GK just punched a cross away, but right onto the left boot of Angel Di Maria. It resulted in a great shot and another great save by S.Korea's keeper.
33' - GOOOOOAAAAALL! Gonzalo Higuain scores with his head after Burdisso flicks on an inswinging Maxi Rodriguez cross from the left side.
32' - Speaking of Argentina's dominance, they easily have the two greasiest hairstyles in the tournament with Gutierrez and Demichelis. Dominant.
31' - South Korea seems to be putting 8 or 9 players behind the ball on defense. While I understand that Argentina are tough to defend, it's not going to help them find a goal.
28' - Tevez just blazed a FK over the cross-bar. That was close.
27' - Is it just me or does Diego Maradona look like he'll play the villain opposite Harrison Ford in "Clear and Present Danger Part 2"?
26' - Despite all the possession, Messi, Tevez and Di Maria just can't seem to get the ball to Higuain in the box.
23' - It looks like Walter Samuel is injured, possibly his hamstring. He is coming off for another Serie A player, Roma's Nicolas Burdisso. That's too bad for Argentina as Samuel has been fantastic all year at Inter.
21' - Some vuvuzelas must be broken, I can actually hear some fans chanting. This must stop, someone drown them out with horns!
19' - Whoa! Ki Sung-Yueng just rocketed a shot from 30 yards that just drifted high. That would have been a HUGE goal. I love the confidence there.
16' - Oh no! South Korea just scored an own-goal on an Argentina free kick. It just doesn't seem fair to S.K. after all their hard work so far. 1-0 Argentina.
15' - In Di Maria and M. Rodriguez, Argentina have 2 players who regularly play the wing, situated in central midfield. They tend to move out wide on attack when Tevez and Messi cut inside. They're extremely strong in possession but may struggle against a side with a strong tackling and possession midfield.
11' - I'm quite impressed with South Korean defense so far. They're not getting possession, but they're keeping Argentina away from dangerous positions.
9' - Looks like South Korea will start just wrapping up Messi and taking him to the turf NFL-style. That might be the only way to stop him at this point.
3' - So far South Korea has barely touched the ball. From watching last game, if they want offense, they should go down Gutierrez' side, he was horrible last game. And it's not like Demichelis was overly steady all season either.
1' - Glad to see that Maradona didn't start Veron again. He was completely out of place with such a fast, pass-and-move team. Maxi, however, is a strange fit in a 3-man midfield.
Semi-Pregame Thoughts: Argentina has 5 of the 20 most efficient strikers in the World Cup based on last club season. I wouldn't lie to you, check out this analysis.
South Korea managed 2 goals in their opening match, which was a rarity so far.
Argentina starting lineup:
Def: Gutierrez, Demichelis, Samuel and Heinze
Mid: M. Rodriguez, Mascherano, Di Maria
Fwds: Higuain, Messi, Tevez
South Korea starting lineup:
Def: Oh, Cho YH, Lee JS, Lee YP
Def mid: Ki, Kim JW
Att mid: Lee CY, Park JS, Yeom
Fwd: Park CY
Pregame Thoughts: Can the high-octane Argentina attack crack a surprising South Korea team early on?
If South Korea can hold Argentina to a draw, do they guarantee themselves the knockout stage?
Who will Argentina start up front? Will it be Gonzalo Higuain again or will Diego Milito get a chance?
Looks like we'll get our chance to find out in just a few minutes.
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