Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Group B Decided! Albiceleste And Taeguk Warriors Advance

As the final group matches start winding up thick and fast, Group B was also decided last night. Again there were a few permutations possible. Not quite in the epic proportions of Group A but still quite tense. Greece had hope to beat the in-form Argentina while requiring Nigeria to beat Korea Republic. Nigeria on the other hand need to win, score at least two goals and then wait for news that Argentina had beaten Greece. Korea has their fate in their own hands, a draw or a victory over the Super Eagles would guarantee them at least second spot.

Argentina v. Greece
Diego Maradona ended the group phase on a high, with a 100% record. Three wins out of three and most of all, the Albiceleste put together wonderfully cohesive and creative performances. Although needing a win, Greece approached the match very negatively, packing everyone in defence. They rarely showed any intent to go forward and was happy just frustrating the Argentines. Unfortunately nothing can stop the talented Argentina from scoring. A reserve Argentina side took the field against Greece, but one would not be able to tell as Maradona's side dominated possession. The 2-time World Cup champions had to be patient and finally got the two goals in the last 15 minutes of the game. Messi has been unlucky not to have scored yet but he has been the brightest star for Argentina. Lots to admire about Argentina and Maradona so far. The focus, intensity, determination, spirit and comradeship will no doubt take the Albiceleste deep into the tournament.

Korea v. Nigeria
The Super Eagles shocked Korea early in the game with a superbly taken goal from Kalu Uche. Uche was impressive throughout the game. The same cannot be said about Yakubu. West Ham target, "the Yak" was guilty of some glaring misses. None more so than in the 67th minute when he sidefooted wide. With Korea leading 2-1, Huh Jung-Moo decided to replace Yeom Ki-Hun with defensive midfielder, Nam-Il. This turned out to be a dramatic mistake as Kim Nam-Il gave away a penalty for Nigeria to draw level. It was an unfortunate end for Enyeama who had been the best performer for the Super Eagles in South Africa. An excellent performance from Korea with Park Ji-Sung at the centre of all their good moves. Park Chu-Young scored the first freekick in this year's World Cup and the Monaco striker has been in sparkling form throughout this tournament.

Argentina and South Korea march on into the last 16. Two very interesting matchups are in store, Argentina v. Mexico and Uruguay v. South Korea.

Argentina's defence will be tested by the speed and skill of the Mexican forwards while Messi pits his skills against club mate, Rafa Marquez. Uruguay and South Korea plays a similar counter-attacking game so it should be a cagey affair and might even go to penalties.

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