Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup 2010 Game 18: Argentina 4, South Korea 1

Well if the first three games from the second round robin entries are any indication scoring will pick up somewhat. This makes sense since teams don't want to lose game 1, but the later you go in the first stage the more teams need a result. So teams that might be likely to play more conservatively in game 1 may be more likely to press for a result and you get a bit more up and down play.

Like Switzerland, South Korea got a quick goal off a long goal kick. In this case it wasn't a goalkeeper error but a lazy play by the defender who whiffed on possession and gave away an easy opportunity. Argentina was pushing the whole game, though, and while it took them well into the second half to reestablish the two goal lead they didn't look seriously threatened.

Higuain was the recipient of some nice work by Messi and may end up in contention for the golden boot (player with most scoring). That award can really depend a lot on how the team does overall.

From a South Korean point of view losing this game wasn't the end of the world but giving up the goal differential is worrisome since Nigeria only lost 1-0 to Argentina. As a result South Korea will go into the last game most probably needing a win against Nigeria (if Nigeria beats Greece). Also, since Argentina is guaranteed to go through there is no telling how aggressive they will be against Greece.

One thing I continue to admire about the Asian teams (Japan, North Korea, South Korea) is their effort. A lot of players will hustle when there is an obvious opportunity, but much like a baseball player who may or may not run out a pop fly, soccer players may not run down a play to be in position in case their is an error. A lot of teams would not have score in the situation South Korea did because many players would have assumed the defender would control the ball and would not have been in position to capitalize when the error was made.

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