June 2010

Group B Rundown

Argentina vs. South Korea

This proved to be one of the more interesting matches of the World Cup thus far. Going into the match, everyone knew that the Argentineans were the favored side. However, South Korea’s pervious performance against the Greeks showed the world they were a much more formidable side than originally thought. Going down a goal early on was the beginning of the end for South Korea. Instead of staying compact, possessing the ball as much as possible, and slowing the pace of the game down, they attempted to play the same attacking up tempo style as Argentina, and simply did not have the firepower to do so. For a solid portion of the second half, I thought the South Koreans were going to get an equalizer. While the game was 4-1 on paper, the play did not dictate such a lop-sided score. Conceding 2 late goals puts South Korea in a terrible position going forward. They now need at a win against Nigeria

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for any hope of moving onto the knockout stages.

Greece vs. Nigeria

What a crazy game this was. Let’s first start with the awful Greek defense in the 16th minute. The entire Greek team, including the goalkeeper decided it would be a good time to ball-watch as the set piece cross drifted into the back of the net. Then all hell broke loose. Sani Kaita picked up the most embarrassing and unnecessary red card in the history of the World Cup. After a bit of a shove from Vasilis Torosidis, Kaita decided it was a good idea to try and kick him in the leg. Of course the official saw the contact and sent Kaita packing. To be fair, Kaita barely touch Torosidis, but once he saw the official heading over to the scene of the crime, he went down like he had been shot with a sniper riffle. The rest of the first half was an all out assault on the Nigerian defense, eventually leading to the equalizing goal.

The second half continued with the Nigerians defending as if their World Cup lives depended on it. They absolutely should have scored a second goal on a brilliant counter act, but the chance was missed. A few key saves from Enyeama kept the Nigerians in the match, but the pressure was too much and the Greeks eventually broke through to go ahead.

Looking Forward:

Argentina vs. Greece

Leading the group with 6 points, the Argentineans are all but assured a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament. Expect Maradona (who has not managed a total fuck up as of yet) to use the same strategy he has employed during the first two matches of group play. He will let Messi roam wherever he pleases in the midfield area setting up his teammates for some beautiful finishes. While the Greeks will be pushing hard to win this match chance of slipping into the knockout rounds, Argentina should win this game easily. However, don’t be surprised if they give up a goal with some sloppy defending.

South Korea vs. Nigeria

Simply put, South Korea needs a win to get them though to the second round. A loss will eliminate them on the basis of goal differential, while a win gives them 6 points and a trip to the knockout stages. A draw could make things very interesting depending on the outcome of the above game, but the Koreans will be playing for

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the win to guarantee their spot in the next round. Early on, I predicted the Nigerians would move through this Group with the “home field” African advantage. I think it may be time to eat my words; the South Koreans should win this game and move on along with Argentina.

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