Pierre Boisrond has followed soccer and the World Cup
closely for many years and also writes for other websites. We at PWC are proud to have him as
a columnist. He will share his views about the past, present and future of
the World Cup.
Read earlier columns
Argentina and Higuain rolled over South Korea; Greece Disciplined Nigeria; Mexico Whipped France
The games in Group B were Argentina vs. South Korea and Nigeria vs. Greece. And the last game for the day was in Group A between Mexico and France. The day started with the determination of Argentina to win the 3 points that would secure a place in the round of 16. And this is what the Argentine Internationals had done by beating South Korea 4-1. South Korea gambled by starting to play a defensive game, but Chu-Young Park scored an own goal that gave Argentina the lead. That goal forced the South Koreans to change their strategy by going forward for the equalizer. However, things did not turn out well for the South Koreans because they found themselves down 2-0 on a goal by Gonzalo Higuain in the 33rd minute. The Argentines were playing very comfortably until defender, Demichelis, lost his concentration in the back and Chung-Yong Lee scored for South Korea. The first half ended 2-1.
In the second half, the South Koreans wanted to equalize the game by pressing forward. However, the South Koreans failed to forget that Argentina has the world best footballer, Lionel Messi, and some of the top strikers in the world. In the 73rd minute, Messi invented some of his magic and should have scored, but Higuain scored his second goal of the game after receiving the rebound from the goal post. The score now was 3-1 in favor of the men conducted by Diego Armando Maradona. It was not a surprise at all when Higuain scored his 3rd goal in the 80th minute after receiving a fantastic assist by Sergio Aguero, the son-in-law of Maradona. Argentina won the game 4-1. It was a great collective effort by the entire team and Messi seems to be playing well now for Argentina. However, Argentina still has some holes in the defense. Martin Demichelis lost his concentration in the defense and provided an opportunity to the South Koreans who capitalized on it. Argentinaís defense is an area that Maradona needs to focus on because the road ahead is going to be very difficult. So far, Argentina has not been tested. Sooner or later, we shall find out. Now Argentina has 6 points with a goal differential (GD) of + 4. South Korea has 3 points with a GD of -1.
Since Korea lost the game, Greece and Nigeria had an opportunity to capitalize on it. The second game of the day was between Nigeria vs. Greece. It was an exciting game. Nigeria came out with lot of determination to win this game. It was Kalu Uche who scored for Nigeria in the 16th minute on a free kick and gave them the lead. Things started to look very well for Nigeria. However, the ejection of Sani Kaita for reacting and kicking a Greek player in the 33rd minute opened the door for Greece. It seems there is always a lack of discipline with the African players. Now, Nigeria had to play with 10 players vs. 11 players for Greece. Before being 1 man down, the Greek Internationals were on their heels. It did not take long after that for Greece to equalize the game in the 44th minute on a goal by Dimitrios Salpingidis. The first half-ended 1-1.
The second half was very entertaining. Both teams wanted to win the game. However, the Greek Internationals stepped up the pressure on Nigeria and they were rewarded in the 71st on a goal by Vasileios Torosidis. Itís unfortunate for the Nigerian goalie, Vincent Enyeama, who could not control the shot and end up giving the bounce to Torosidis. The Greek Internationals did what they needed to do because they took advantage of the situation. They won the game 2-1.
Argentina is now 1st with six points with GD(+4); South Korea is 2nd with 3 points with a GD (-1); Greece 3rd place with 3 points with a GD (-1)and Nigeria with 0 point with a GD (-2). Believe it or not, Nigeria still have a chance to make it to the next round if they can beat South Korea in their next round but Greece will have to lose against Argentina. South Korea, Greece and Nigeria will have to be at their best in their third match. If not, they will have to go home.
The last game of the day was in Group A between Mexico and France. Mexico came out in flying colors because they did not want to speculate in their last game. However, France seems to be a team without any ideas. The Mexicans turned the French Internationals upside down. The Mexican Internationals created several chances to take the lead in the first half but it wasnít meant to be. In the second half, the French Internationals seemed to be lost totally and in the 64th minute, the 21yr old Javier Hernandez succumbed the French by giving Mexico a 1-0 lead. The French did not react at all and therefore paid the ultimate price on a penalty kick given by Abidal. He did not have to give the penalty kick (PK), but that was basically how the day was for the French. Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored on the PK and put Mexico up 2-0. The French were beaten in every aspect of the game. The Mexican Internationals deserve all the credit. They have stepped up their game and perhaps we might see a 2006 rematch between Argentina and Mexico in the second round. Now, Uruguay is first with 4 points and a GD (+3); Mexico is 2nd with 4 points with a GD(+2); France is 3rd with 1 point with a GD (-2) and South Africa is 4th with 1 point and a GD (-3). Mexico will face Uruguay in the last game of this group if Mexico and Uruguay tie, then France and South Africa will be eliminated and therefore must return home. France still has a chance, but they need to beat South Africa by at least 4 goals and hope that Mexico vs Uruguay does not result in a tie.
Please continue to follow the games. In Group C, todayís games the Americans will face Slovenia in a must win situation. Then later in the day, England will face Argelia. In Group D, Germany will play vs Serbia for their ticket to the round of 16.
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