Until Argentina took the field a couple hours later, South Korea was the best-looking team in the tournament. Sure, the Taeguk Warriors played in just the third game, but they gave Greece more than the Greeks could handle. A 2-0 win gave South Korea the first victory of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
And South Korea got to work early, scoring in the 7th minute, coming on a set piece that was effectively a corner kick. The taller Greeks couldn’t get to the cross and Lee Jung Soo finished on the back post. The Taeguk Warriors were first to the ball, they strung great passes together and showed great creativity.
Greece, on the other hand, played terribly. Fifa’s world football rankings have been suspect for years. And having Greece ranked 13th will again give cause to question whatever theorems the world’s governing football body uses to determine rankings. The so-called 13th-ranked team still has never scored a goal in a World Cup finals match. Greece rarely threatened and gave up odd-numbered attacks throughout, even off its own set pieces. South Korea’s second goal came on a miserable Greek giveaway, leading to Park Ji Sung’s 52nd minute tally.
As creative and fun as South Korea was, Argentina was that much better. A lone 6th minute goal from defender Gabriel Heinze was all the Albiceleste managed in a 1-0 win over , but their beauty from the backline through the midfield to the strikers was something to behold. The 2009 Player of the Year, Lionel Messi, was creative both as a striker and a playmaker. Messi had three shots that would have bested lesser goalies, but Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama kept Messi off the scoresheet. Enyeama was voted Man of the Match his goaltending was so impressive.
Nigeria had its chances, but never converted. Maybe they were as caught up as I was in watching Argentina work on and off the ball.
– Scott Kaniewski