Argentina have beaten South Korea (Korean Republic) 4-1 in the FIFA World Cup 2010 Group B match this afternoon to dramatically enhance their chances of reaching the latter stages of the tournament with an impressive display.
Gonzalo Higuain, who plays his club football for Real Madrid, did the bulk of the damage with a well-taken hat-trick of goals for the South Americans in a match that they dominated for most of the 90 minutes.
Argentina got off to a great start on 16 minutes when Park Chu-Young turned a Lionel Messi free kick into his own net in the 16th minute – the ball in was good, but narrowly eluded a head from either side before taking the Korean forward by surprise and rebounding straight into the net. The player clearly expected those in front of him to make contact with the speedily delivered ball.
Higuain scored in the 33rd minute from another cross, albeit one that was flicked on to him at the back post, when the Korean defence showed no little amount of tardiness in pushing out following a short corner from that man Messi yet again. The ball in was flicked to the far post – where Higuain should have been offside, but for the slow to react left back playing him on – and Higuain nodded the ball into the ground from where it bounced over keeper Jung Sung-Ryong’s sluggish dive into the corner for the simplest of goals.
The South Koreans will be kicking themselves for these indiscretions as they got on the score-sheet themselves soon after, in first half injury time, Dimichelis dithered before playing the ball invitingly to Lee Chung-Yong who filled his boots and bagged a life-line goal just before the interval.
In the second half, South Korea showed some spirit early, before Argentina killed the game with a further quick-fire brace from the impressive Higuain.
He won’t get an easier hat-trick as his second came following a Messi shot which rebounded off a post, leaving him a 76th minute tap in, and the third was a header from close range from an inch perfect Sergio Aguero cross. Aguero took the ball from Messi yet again, showing that Maradona’s pre-tournament words “everything must go through Messi” have been heeded. And sensibly so.
Argentina are pretty much assured a place in the latter stages after only two games – barring mathematical and footballing freak occurrences – and they look, at present, to be in with a real chance of going all the way in 2010.
The only question marks hovering over Argentina are these: what will they do if an opponent stops Messi? And, can they stop making defensive errors? Better sides than South Korea will ask these questions of them, the answer to them may well decide their World Cup fate.
For now, at least, Argentina can enjoy ruling Group B in World Cup 2010.