Thursday 22 March 2018

Argentina v South Korea

Argentina 4
Park Chu-Young (16) (OG), Higuan 33, 76, 80
South Korea 1
Lee Chung-Yong (45+1)

South Korean fans before the match. Photo: Getty Images
South Korean fans before the match. Photo: Getty Images
An Argentinian fan sits in the stands. Photo: Getty Images

Simon Briggs

Commentary from the World Cup 2010 Group B game between South Africa and Uruguay at the Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg

92min: FULL-TIME Argentina 4 South Korea 1

90min: If you're looking for a turning point, check 57min: Ki-hun should have made it 2-2 but instead Argentina have run away with it.

89min: A tired-looking error in possession from Kim Nam-Il gives Messi a chance to emulate Aguero's dash, with similar end result: he carries it up to the edge of the area before being crowded out. South Korea are flagging badly.

86min: Now Aguero carries the ball all the way from the half-way line, mesmerising the defenders with his dummies and feints, and gets into the penalty box before he finally loses control and goes to ground.

84min: You've got to wonder if Aguero might start the next match after the impact he has made here. Nudges and winks about nepotism from his father-in-law are looking pretty silly.

80min: And that's the first World Cup hat-trick since 2002! It goes to Gonzalo Higuain, who came into this match with just two international goals to his name. He hasn't had to do much, to be fair, on any of them; this time he just nodded the ball back across the keeper after sublime approach play. Messi picked up the ball in the middle, on the edge of the South Korean penalty box, and performed one of his patented scoops to Aguero, unmarked on the left of the area. Aguero caressed it across goal with the outside of his boot, straight onto Higuain's head. Good movement from the striker - he's always been in the right spot.

79min: GOAL! Argentina 4 South Korea 1

77min: That's done it for Maradona's movie stars! Aguero has an immediate impact as he exchanges passes with Messi, who is at his fleet-footed best. Messi hits the left-hand post from only five yards out; the ball breaks across the box and Higuain is unmarked for a tap-in.

76min: GOAL! Argentina 3 South Korea 1

74min: Here's Aguero at last for Argentina, replacing Tevez. And then Romero comes out of his area in somewhat hare-brained fashion; he ends up thumping his clearance almost from the halfway line.

70min: South Korea are totting up a few marks on the shots counter, not that any of them are especially threatening. There's a bit of space in front of Argentina's centre-backs where Park Chu-young is getting free.

67min: All a bit scrappy in the middle; Argentina have lost their rhythm since Dimichelis's error but South Korea aren't really creating much either.

64min: Messi takes a free-kick from 40 yards out but it just dribbles through to Jung Sung-ryong. It's not been the best half for the Flea so far. Even his gaffer is upstaging him.

62min: Brilliant! Maradona backheel on the touchline draws one of the biggest roars of the match.

57min: Hands on heads for South Korea: Yeom Ki-hun is one-on-one with the keeper after nice work from Lee Chung-yong, exploiting huge holes in the Argentina defence. He should have scored but went for the near post instead of firing across Romero, and the ball hit the side netting.

54min: Two bookings in as many minutes for Argentina: first Gutierrez throws the ball away, earning a yellow card that will keep him out of the third group game, then Mascherano puts in a vicious tackle in defence. Robbie Savage suggests that Gutierrez has made a canny move - missing what is likely to be a dead rubber against Greece and ensuring that he'll be available in the last 16.

52min: Argentina's best move of the match: Tevez pokes it forward to De Maria, just on the left-hand side of the goal, and he hooks it into the middle for Higuain who shoots from close-range. A good save from Jung Sung-ryong.

50min: Tevez has another pop from the corner of the box, and Argentina win the throw-in. They're still holding onto the ball pretty well; South Korea finally win possession and go for Route One: a flick-on straight into Romero's gloves.

47min: Another chance here for Messi but it's charged down in the South Korean box. So far Messi's a bit like Lampard in 2006 - lots of shots and no goals yet.

46min: There's been a substitution for South Korea, Kim Nam-Il is on, who reads a bit like the sequel to Kim Nam, and Ki Sung-yong is off.

13:32: Will the match catch light after that unexpected gift? The Argentines had been dominant up until that point, but no-one could say that their goals were spectacular. Neither has Messi put on the sort of masterclasss he did against Nigeria. Davids is suggesting he should go out and play on the flanks to evade cynical South Korean challenges. In this, at least, Maradona's predictions are being born out.

13:26: ITV now deconstructing the goals, Edgar Davids suggesting that the vuvuzelas drowned out the shouts of "man-on!" (or its Spanish equivalent, anyone?) when the ball came to Dimichelis.

13:24: Well, Maradona has brought six strikers and only seven defenders and that could be his downfall. Dimichelis has let South Korea in there, while Samuel has picked up an injury - not sure what kind yet - and Veron, who is the first-choice holding midfielder, has missed this match with a calf problem.

13: 22 That was an absolute howler from Dimichelis, he lingered on the ball after it was passed to him in the Argentine penalty area, and Lee Chung-yong nipped in and nicked it, pushing it past a stranded Romero with the outside of his boot. A chance for South Korea to regroup as that was the final kick of the half.

HALF-TIME Argentina 2-1 South Korea.

45 min: GOAL! Argentina 2-1 South Korea.

44 min: Messi is surrounded by defenders but he's loses his tail - there's four of them duped by one body swerve - and tries to chip Jung, but it's just wide. That was Messi in Barca mode. Incredible.

39 min: Decent effort from Di Maria - after more Argentina pressing - but it's well kept out.

33min: Another goal from a set-piece, making it three out of three for Argentina. The free kick was on the left, near the byline. Messi worked it back to Rodriguez, who curled it in, and a nice flick-on delivered it perfectly onto the head of Gonzalo Higuain. South Korea appealed for off-side but in fact he was exactly level.

32min: GOAL Argentina 2 South Korea 0

30min: Lengthy spell of Argentine possession and pressure comes to nothing when Gutierrez takes his eye off the ball and lets it run out of play. "I think his hair got in his eyes there," says Robbie Savage. "He should do what I do and put Vaseline in it."

27min: Messi goes down close to the South Korean penalty area and Tevez blasts the resulting free kick just over the crossbar. Good effort, though it looked like Rodriguez committed GBH in the wall to create the space.

"I have a bad feeling about Argentina this summer," says Oliver Govett. "I wonder would they lend us Aguero? He looks bored...." I think he means bad as in - they're gonna do us in again.

24min: Ooh that's a blatant and deliberate handball by Di Maria on the left-hand side, he brings it down and tries to get a cross in but South Korea get the ball away. Dear Lord, please deliver me from the temptation to mention 1986.

22min: A substitution here with Nicolas Burdisso replacing Walter Samuel at centre-half. Maradona tries to do some consoling, but Samuel - who absolutely towers over his manager - doesn't look interested.

"Has anyone noticed that the ‘little genius’ that is Messi only ever cuts inside on his left?" asks Neil Meadowcroft. "Can you please keep a count on how many times he does it? My bet is 84."

18min: South Korea have their first proper shot and it's a cracker, Ki Sung-yong from about 40 yards, just feathers the crossbar as it flies over but that was hit with serious intent.

17min: That's a weird one! It came from a free-kick on the left side of South Korea's penalty box. Messi curls it in, and the South Korean striker Park Chu-young appears to be transfixed as it hits his shin and deflects past the keeper. He wasn't even under much pressure from the attackers.

16min: GOAL Argentina 1 South Korea 0

13min: South Korea approach the Argentine goal for only the second time, but Rodriguez covers efficiently and normal blue-and-white-striped service is resumed.

11min: In fact Mr De Bleeckere has all the makings of a pedantic Low Countries bureaucrat who will whistle for anything. Hope he loosens up a little.

9min: Yeom Ki-hun picks up the first yellow card after a coming together with Messi. Looks like the Belgian ref was working on reputation there because there wasn't much in it.

7min: Fast feet on the Argentine attack, Messi helps work the ball out to Tevez who pings it over the bar.

5min: Higuain given off-side there as he chested the ball down to Di Maria. Would have been a decent opportunity for a volley but for the infringement. I wonder if South Korea have been watching videos of Switzerland yesterday because they have barely touched the ball yet.

3min: I've just heard the official pronuciation of Oh Beom-seok. It would be quite amusing if one were of a childish persuasion. Apparently his nickname is "The King of Fouls", and he'll be marking Tevez.

1min: Angel Di Maria skips through two tackles to win the first free-kick of the match after 30secs. Then Messi carries it forward and the ball goes out for a corner.

12:28: The ground is full of flags but not quite full of fans: a few too many empty orange seats.

12:22: Maradona has his shiny suit on, the sun is shining on Johannesburg, and the anthems are cranking up.

12:17: Both these teams are favourites to progress after winning their first match, so the dreaded "fear factor" - which many pundits have blamed for ruining this tournament - should be noticeable by its absence. Neither is it clear how much of an advantage it will be to actually win the group: the possible opponents in the next round include Uruguay, Mexico and France. And despite Uruguay's confident demolition of South Africa last night, there isn't that much between them.

12:11: One change for the South Koreans at right-back, with Oh Beom-seok coming in to replace Cha Du-ri. Against Greece, they were very tactically solid with Park Ji-sung pulling the strings.

12:05: In team news, the Argentines have left out Veron in favour of Maxi Rodriguez, which looks like a positive move. Three in the middle, according to Radio 5Live, with Gutierrez and Heinze providing width from full-back. "I used to play this formation at Derby County," offers Robbie Savage

12:03: I'm wondering how I'm going to deal with the surnames in this one. I never have been able to spell Heinze.

12:00: Has Maradona piled the pressure onto his team with his rantings about Pele, Platini and South Korean violence? Or is he the lightning conductor that occupies our attention while the Messis and Mascheranos do their thing?

Argentina Sergio Romero, Martin Demichelis, Walter Samuel, Gabriel Heinze, Jonas Gutierrez, Javier Mascherano, Maxi Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain.

South Korea Jung Sung-ryong, Oh Beom-seok, Lee Young-pyo, Cho Yong-hyung, Lee Jung-soo, Kim Jung-woo, Ki Sung-yong, Park Ji-sung, Lee Chung-yong, Park Chu-young, Yeom Ki-hun.

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