Monday, June 21, 2010

Group B's second round of games

Argentina 4-1 South Korea

Argentina were thoroughly dominant against South Korea. The South Americans were lively and creative in the opening stages but hardly had a shot on target before they were ahead. A well delivered cross from Messi was botched by the defence, Park Chu-young turning it into his own net. Soon it was 2-0 with a goal from Higuain, but with half-time fast approaching Argentina failed to take a deserved two goal lead into the break - Demichelis criminally lingered on the ball too long allowing Lee Chung-yong to latch onto it before firing home. The South Koreans had one spell of sustained pressure which came midway through the second half - Yeom Ki-hun had a wonderful opportunity to equalise but his shot hit the side netting. Normal service was resumed and Higuain completed a hat-trick. His finishes were all simple and all the goals came as a result of sumptuous build up play from the Argentinians, Messi being the common denominator of them all. South Korea had had very little answer to an Argentinian master-class.

Greece 2-1 Nigeria

Greece picked up their first ever victory in a World Cup finals match. Nigeria scored an early goal thanks to the Greek keeper Tsorvas moving to a spot where he predicted Odemwingie would aim his header - instead Odemwingie ducked under the ball and let it bounce invitingly into an empty net. It was in truth, poor goal-keeping. Greece came right back into the game when Kaita of Nigeria had a brain explosion and was rightfully sent off. The ball had gone out for a throw and Kaita was so enraged that he kicked out, studs up at Torosidis. Torosidis may have gone down like a sack of spuds and wrongly started clutching his face but it was a clear red, and one that had severely dented the Nigerians chances of hanging on. Salpingidis equalised not too long after thanks to a massive deflection off Haruna.

The second half saw Greece dominant. It was as if the sending off had left Nigeria bereft of any ideas and had completely turned the tide the opposite way. Enyeama was again on inspired form again so it was a pity that it was he who made the mistake that caused an equaliser for the Greeks. He failed to hold onto a shot that should have been saved from Tziolis, helping the ball into the path of Torosidis to stab home. It was perhaps the first goalkeeping mistake I could put partly down to the swerve of the Jabulani ball (or was it the altitude) and it was a great shame after such brilliant performances in both games, that Enyeama would provide the basis for the goal. All 3 goals of the game were down to errors and the sending off had completely changed the complexion of the match, but the long and the short of it was - Greece had a first World Cup win and Nigeria were left ruing what might have been.