Thursday – June 17th, 2010
Argentina vs. South Korea review
An interesting game between the Group B leaders. Argentina started the game better by controlling the midfield and penetratingthe box a couple of times with a few shots wide, meanwhile Korea was having extreme difficulty getting anything going past their backfield. Argentina’s attack paid off in the 17th minute: after a Messi cross, Demichelisbarely deflects with his head, hits Korean Chuyoung’s leg and it beat keeper Sungryong. It was a very unfortunate own goal by South Korea andnow withthe lead, Argentina went after their second. Seconds after (18th minute), Argentina’s Rodriguez sent a strike just above the bar, while Korea’s Sungyeongresponded with one of his own at the 19th minute. But other than that, Korea still had major difficulty being able to develop any plays on offense, while Argentina pressured with Tevez and Messi having another good game. Andat the 33rd minute, it pays off once again with a Rodriguez cross and a Higuainheader.
Now witha two goal lead, Argentina was calmer, with their foot off the gas, though they still had a couple of more chances. SouthKorea, now trailing, attempted to attack, still though, withvery little success. With the half coming to an end (45th minute), Korea caught a break, off an Argentinian defensive turnover by Demichelis, Chungyong was to quick steal the ball and put it past the keeper to cut the lead and endthe half. At the start of the second, Argentina came back fast andwiththe intention of closing this game out as soon as possible with scoring chances by Messi at the 47th, Tevez at the 50th and 54th and Higuain at the 52nd. It was SouthKorea however who almost scored with a dangerous counter-attack and a narrow miss by Kihun, a great missed opportunity to tie the game up. After that, Argentina went even more on the attack while closing out their defense and at the 76th minute they closed out the game: good Messi run and shot, a Sungryong save, Messigot the rebound, hit the post and the ball went right to Higuain with the goal wide open. And if three wasn’t enough, they got one more at the 80thminute with a Higuain header to complete his hat trick. South Korea, by then, was hoping the game ended.
Great win for Argentina as they’ve presented two solid outings and took a big step into qualifying. For SouthKorea meanwhile, the loss is to be expected, however the goal difference could cost them a second place position. Score: 4-1.
Greece vs. Nigeria review
With both teams desperately needing a win, you wouldn’t know that from how the game started. The first 15 minutes had very few action as both seemed to be very cautious. At the 16th minute though, Nigeria’s Ughescored with a free kick that went by untouched by everyone. Nigeria was the superior team at that point, with Greece being able to do practically nothing. The turning point came at the 33rd minute, Nigeria’s Katiagot the most moronic, though deserved, red card.
With one extra player, Greece was finally able to find space and get something going on the attack (Salpingidis shot at the 39th minute). Near the endof the half, it was all Greece, being able to now put pressure on Nigeria’s defense. At the 44thminute Salpingidis’ well-hit shot found the net, tied the game andwas Greece’s first World Cup goal ever. At the start of the secondhalf, the game was extremely open, with both sides, despite Nigeria’s red card, finding spaces andscoring chances, with both looking for the win. Nigeria had a great chance at the 49thminute with Uche’s cross that nearly went in, and another at the 59thminute with a dangerous counter-attack and save by keeper Tzorvas. Greece ,meanwhile, where still having their chances, a 68th minute header by Samaras and a fantastic save by Enyeama, who was having another spectacular performance. The pressure was too much though, andat the 71st minute, Greece took the lead with a Torosidis put-back after an Enyeama rebound.
Now trailing, Nigeria went on to attack, trying to salvage a point, and that made the game even more open and exciting (Greek Karagounis’ shot at the 75th and Nigerian Yakubu’s at the 76th). After that, Greece closed itself on defensea bit more, both still had more chances (37 shots in total by both), but the score didn’t change. Until the red card, it looked as Nigeria almost had this one wrapped up, but the Greek caught a break andtook advantage. It will be an exciting third round for this group! Score: 2-1.
Mexico vs. France review
You’d expect that with bothteams needing a win, they bothwould come hard, with intensity, hustle anddetermination. I was counting on that from both. Andif both did show up like that, I’d give the edge, as I did, to France. But they didn’t, anddespite having talented players, you wouldn’t know that from this game. The first half started fairly even, with both sides having good chances and getting their shots off. However, even then you noticed that Mexico’s chances were clearer and better. Besides Ribery, the French seemed lethargic and monotonous. At the 18th minute Mexico got its first great chance with a Salcido shot just wide, who also had another chance at the 27th. The French had some opportunities, but it never was dangerous enough; Mexico on the other hand, had another scoring chance at the 40th minute witha Dos Santos strike.
The second half started much in the same way with Mexico creating better chances, better shots, better touches and crosses. Their persistence paid off at the 64th minute when Marquez sent a long ball that caught the French defense sleeping a bit and left Hernandez completely alone to dribble past the keeper Lloris andscore. WithMexico now withthe lead, you’d expect a reaction from France, right? Well, no, none, there wasn’t any, it was a very apathetic performance. So with Mexico still playing better, Barrera was fouled inside the penalty box, with the experienced Blanco expertly placed penalty kick for the score (79th minute). The French continued to drag themselves till the end of the game. The “Si se puede” stopped being a question and became a statement, while the French should just go home and let Ireland play the third game. Score: 2-0.
Friday – June 18th, 2010 Preview
Germany vs. Serbia (7:30 AM EST.)
Another good 7 AM game to watch. Germany came off an impressive and easy performance against Australia while Serbia, despite taking the loss, also played very well in one of Round 1’s best games. Serbia does not want to come out empty handed again, and with Ghana expected to beat Australia, this is a must win game for them. Germany, on the other hand, can live with a tie. Prediction: Germany win.
USA vs Slovenia (10 AM EST.)
USA came off an impressive and historic result against England, however this game is even more important. Slovenia beat Algeria in one of the worst games in Round 1, but 3 points is 3 points, and they’re atop of the group. USA is superior, and they not only should win, but they have to win. Prediction: USA win.
England vs. Algeria (2:30 PM EST.)
To the British, the tie was devastating, so you can imagine how they’ll come into this match. Poor Algeria. Prediction: England win.