Argentina 4 – Korea Republic 1 (Match Summary)

June 17, 2010 - 06049965 date 17 06 2010 Copyright imago Sesa Il Gol DEL 3 1 Tue Gonzalo Higuain Argentina Gonzalo Higuain s 3 1 Leading Goal Scored for Argentina Argentina Corea DEL Sud Argentina vs South Korea Campionati DEL Mondo Tue Calcio 2010 World Cup South Africa 2010 Soccer Stage Johannesburg 17 06 2010 Giorgio Perottino Inside photo PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxITAxFRA GIORGIOXPEROTTINO Football men World Cup international match National team Johannesburg Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd.

Argentina went with a slightly more traditional 4-3-3 formation to face the well-organized Koreans, perhaps an adjustment necessary in the absence of veteran Argentine midfield playmaker Juan Veron. In the beginning, the Koreans seemed content planted in their own half, obviously looking to play a defense and counter-attack strategy. The Argentines came out energized and fluid, showing signs of chemistry, content to use up the space conceded by a conservative Korean side. We’ve seen the defensive lockdown mindset be effective in this Cup (for Uruguay vs. France and Switzerland vs. Spain) and it seemed to be working for the Koreans as well, if not for a 15th minute own goal by Chu-Young Park, though it was Messi’s poisonous out swinging free-kick that made it possible.

Argentine morale was lifted even higher, and they continued to exert a pressure on the Korean defense which eventually resulted in yet another goal–this one a cross into the box that bounced off the head of Burdisso to find a lone Higuain on the far Korean post for a cool header past keeper Jung Sung-Ryong.

Argentina appeared to have an untested 2-0 lead in their pocket going into half, but an injury time shocker from Korea revealed a possible Achilles’ heel in Argentina’s back line. Center-back DeMichelis, whose play has occasionally been sporadic for Bayern Munich this year, was dawdling with the ball just outside his own goal box and seemed unaware that Korean Chung-Young Lee was breathing down his neck. Lee poked the ball free and finished unforgivingly to give Korea just the hope it needed going into half.

And indeed the 2nd half seemed much more up for grabs, with the Koreans consistently reaching Argentine’s third and balancing out possession. For long periods the Argentines seemed to have lost their spark of initiative, but Korea was never able to capitalize. Instead, Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain made sure his name would be stamped all over the stat sheet by knocking in two more in the last 15 minutes, completing a hat trick you can already imagine the soft-spoken forward telling his grandkids about. Both goals were results of visionary play by teammates, but when a striker does what he’s asked to do—have a supernatural knack for being in the right place and putting the ball in the net–you’ve got to give him credit.

Although Messi didn’t score, his fingerprints were all over the game, and a DNA test of any of the goals would certainly find traces of him. Doubts about whether he could rise to his inspirational level of play at the national level are quickly dissipating, and a squad which seems to take the approach that the “best defense is a prodigious offense” seems poised to comfortably advance into the next stage of the tournament.

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Blake Owen says:

    The Argentines looked better than they did against Nigeria, but can they beat better teams without Veron?

    Maxi Rodriguez is a quality replacement, but, as you noted, Veron’s absence changes their formation and leaves them without any traditional center-of-the-pitch midfield playmakers.

    Of course, if Messi keeps playing like he did today, they might not need one.

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