Sunday, June 13, 2010

Group B opening games

South Korea 2-0 Greece

South Korea were dominant throughout the match and very worthy of their victory. Greece's reputation for being built on a solid defence was in tatters after the game as it was two very poor errors that handed South Korea both goals. Lee Jung-Soo was not picked up when the ball was crossed in for the first goal. For the second Vyntra inexplicably gave the ball away when receiving a routine pass from Seitaridis, Park Ji-Sung profited going off a nice run before finishing adroitly.

It could have all been so different had Torosidis not failed to convert a fantastic opportunity from six yards in the early minutes. But apart from that Greece had little in the way of goalscoring opportunities, save for 3 or 4 during a sustained 5 minutes of pressure midway through the second half. Top goalscorer in European qualifying Gekas was off his game but in fairness he just didn't get the service from a midfield lacking in imagination. In truth Greece were fairly abject throughout the field and will need massive improvement if they are to have any chance of doing anything other than make up the numbers in Group B.

But let this not take away from a quality performance from South Korea who kept possession well, defended well and played with an air of class. They played a very good game and easily deserved their 2 goal victory.

Argentina 1-0 Nigeria

In terms of quality football being played this has been the best of the first five games. Messi was top quality and was only foiled by some spectacular goalkeeping from Vincent Enyeama. Veron was off-colour with some of his passing and the Argentinian defence looked a bit suspect, a better strikeforce than Nigeria's would likely have made them pay. Their defence lacks pace with the likes of Samuel and Demichelis so it was an area that could have been exploited.

It was funny that with all Argentina's attacking quality the goal came from the head of defender Heinze. Argentina started with four highly attack minded players and ended up with five (when Maxi Rodriguez came on). This left Mascherano doing a helluva lot of work in defensive midfield. And with Gutierrez, normally a right winger, playing at right-back attack was concentrated down the right, leaving Di Maria fairly anonymous at times.

Nigeria played a 4-4-2 formation when a 4-3-3 would have been better. Particularly as Obasi likes to get forward. They performed better when the classic winger Odemwingie came on as he was able to exploit Gutierrez down that flank. The introduction of Martins also meant there was more pace available. Nigeria had a few reasonable chances but were unable to profit from them, continuing their general weakness of being goal shy. It was also exceptionally poor marking that enabled Heinze to ghost in completely unmarked for his goal.

There was this comment I enjoyed from another website which I happen to agree with: "Diego’s idea of throwing square pegs into circular holes simply because they’re carved of a higher quality wood will not work against good sides".

No comments: