Friday, June 18, 2010

Argentina shows the real power

Group B, 11:30 GMT, June 17, 2010
Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa

4 - 1
South Korea

Gonzalo Higuain scored the first hat-trick at the World Cup since 2002 as Argentina all but assured themselves a place in the last 16 with an impressive victory over South Korea at Soccer City.

Scoring Summary

ArgentinaSouth Korea
Park Chu-Young (og 16')Lee Chung-Yong (45')
Gonzalo Higuaín (33')
Gonzalo Higuaín (76')
Gonzalo Higuaín (80')

Man of the Match: Gonzalo Higuain


  • Man of the Match: Gonzalo Higuain - The Real Madrid forward missed a succession of chances in Argentina's opening game against Nigeria and his place looked to be in some doubt. However, Higuain responded with a deadly performance when scoring three predatory goals against South Korea, even if he was indebted to some expert service from his team-mates. After scoring 27 goals in Spain last season, he now leads the race for the Golden Boot.

  • Argentina verdict: This was theAlbiceleste at their sumptuous best in attack, with Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Higuain a constant threat to a cowering South Korean backline. Defensive concerns remain, particularly given an aberration from Martin Demichelis that allowed Lee Chung-Yong to score, but the lasting image will be a glorious fourth goal that was the best of the tournament so far. Forget those reservations about Diego Maradona as a coach - he appears to be getting the best out of this talented side.

  • South Korea verdict: A fine opening win over Greece looks a long time ago now after a performance that lacked belief. They were overawed by the Argentina attack and restricted to efforts from long range. South Korea remain tidy in possession, but they lacked the nous to exploit any weakness in the Argentina defence, Lee's goal aside. Will need to get this game out of their thoughts before their final game against Nigeria.

  • Could do better: Gabriel Heinze - As Argentina lit up the competition with a fine performance, it was left to Heinze to practice the dark arks as he repeatedly indulged in simulation and even had the audacity to moan at the referee when shown a yellow card for a blatant handball.

  • Stat attack: Higuain's hat-trick was the first in the World Cup since Pauleta scored three for Portugal in 2002 against Poland. It was Argentina's first since Gabriel Batistuta against Jamaica in 1998.
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