View Full Version : FIFA WC Soccer 2010 , GROUP B: all previews, reviews and match thread

May 31, 2010, 12:21 AM


<center> <table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse" bordercolor="#111111" width="75%" id="AutoNumber1" height="99"> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="19">&nbsp;</td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" align="center" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">Team</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">P</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">W</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">D</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">L</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">F</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">A</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">GD</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">PTS</font></b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#66FF99"><b> <font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#66FF99" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Argentina</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"> <font face="Arial"><b>0</b></font></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"> <font face="Arial"><b>0</b></font></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">7</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">6</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">9</font></b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#66FF99"><b> <font face="Arial">2</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#66FF99" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">South Korea</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">5</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">6</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">-1</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">4</font></b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#FF6666"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#FF6666" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Greece</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"> <font face="Arial"><b>0</b></font></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">2</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">2</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">5</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">-3</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#FF6666"><b> <font face="Arial">4</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#FF6666" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Nigeria</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"> <font face="Arial"><b>0</b></font></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">2</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">5</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">-2</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"> <b><font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> </tr> </table> </center>


Saturday, June 12
11:30 - South Korea 2 : 0 Greece, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
14:00 - Argentina 1 : 0 Nigeria, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg

Thursday, June 17
11:30 - Argentina 4 : 1 South Korea, Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg
18:00 - Greece 2 : 1 Nigeria,Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Tuesday, June 22
18:30 - Nigeria 2 : 2 South Korea, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
18:30 - Greece 0 : 2 Argentina, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

* All times are GMT


http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/kor.gif SOUTH KOREA:
Goalkeepers: Lee Woon-jae, Kim Young-kwang, Jung Sung-ryong.
Defenders: Lee Young-pyo, Cha Du-ri, Cho Yong-hyung, Oh Beom-seok, Lee Jung-soo, Kim Hyung-il, Kang Min-soo, Kim Dong-jin.
Midfielders: Lee Chung-yong, Park Ji-sung, Kim Jung-woo, Kim Jae-sung, Kim Bo-kyung, Kim Nam-il, Ki Sung-yong.
Forwards: Lee Dong-guk, Lee Seung-ryul, Park Chu-young, Ahn Jung-whan, Yeom Ki-hun
Coach: Huh Jung-Moo

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/gre.gif GREECE:Goalkeepers: Michalis Sifakis, Alexandros Tzorvas, Kostas Chalkias
Defenders: Giorgos Seitaridis, Loukas Vintra, Evangelos Moras, Socrates Papastathopoulos, Sotiris Kyrgiakos, Avraam Papadopoulos, Vasilis Torosidis, Nikos Spiropoulos, Stelios Malezas
Midfielders: Kostas Katsouranis, Alexandros Tziolis, Giorgos Karagounis , Sotiris Ninis, Christos Patsatzoglou , Sakis Prittas
Forwards: Angelos Charisteas, Dimitris Salpigidis, Pantelis Kapetanos, Theofanis Gekas, Giorgos Samaras
Coach: Otto Rehhagel

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/arg.gif ARGENTINA:Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Mariano Andujar, Diego Pozo
Defenders: Nicolas Burdisso, Martin Demichelis, Walter Samuel, Gabriel Heinze
Nicolas Otamendi, Clemente Rodriguez, Ariel Garce
Midfielders: Javier Mascherano, Juan Sebastian Veron, Maximiliano Rodriguez, Mario Bolatti, Angel Di Maria, Jonas Gutierrez, Javier Pastore
Forwards: Sergio Aguero, Diego Milito, Martin Palermo, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo HiguaĆ­n, Lionel Messi
Coach: Diego Maradona

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/nga.gif NIGERIA:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, Bamidele Aiyenugba
Defenders: Taye Taiwo, Rabiu Afolabi, Chidi Odiah, Ayodele Adeleye, Danny Shittu, Joseph Yobo, Elderson Echiejile
Midfielders: Haruna Lukman, Kalu Uche, Yusuf Ayila, Dickson Etuhu, Sani Kaita
Forwards: Nwankwo Kanu, Osaze Odemwingie, John Utaka, Chinedu Obasi, Obafemi Martins, Obinna Nsofor, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Brown Ideye
Coach: Lars Lagerback

May 31, 2010, 11:09 PM
Argentina and SK I think. I would love it if SK make it, they have a pretty easy group and they should take full advantage...

June 1, 2010, 01:56 AM
Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate Argentina.
Messi is a magician though.

Nigeria and Korea both good teams. Either of them it would be from this group.

Eh, Greeks are snobbish tightar**.

June 1, 2010, 06:09 AM
i too think argentina and SK but u can never count out the super eagles or greece.

June 1, 2010, 06:40 AM
Signing in my Group.
Argentina all the way!!!

June 1, 2010, 10:24 AM
This is actually a very tough group. They call group G the group of death, but IMO the competition in this one is much more evenly balanced.

June 5, 2010, 05:53 AM
Nigeria midfielder John Mikel Obi has been ruled out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with a knee injury.

Mikel joins fellow Chelsea stars Michael Essien and Michael Ballack in missing out through injury, while Didier Drogba is a major doubt.

The 23-year-old underwent minor knee surgery in May and feels he has not recovered sufficiently.

"We have dropped Mikel from the squad after he said he did not want to risk his career," said a Nigeria spokesman.

Nigeria will replace Obi Mikel with the uncapped Brown Ideye, a striker from French club Sochaux.

June 5, 2010, 05:55 AM
Nigeria midfielder John Mikel Obi has been ruled out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with a knee injury.

Mikel joins fellow Chelsea stars Michael Essien and Michael Ballack in missing out through injury, while Didier Drogba is a major doubt.

The 23-year-old underwent minor knee surgery in May and feels he has not recovered sufficiently.

"We have dropped Mikel from the squad after he said he did not want to risk his career," said a Nigeria spokesman.

Nigeria will replace Obi Mikel with the uncapped Brown Ideye, a striker from French club Sochaux.

June 11, 2010, 10:20 PM
South Korea V Greece Preview (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264038&cc=4716&ver=global)

In what looks a relatively open group, both South Korea and Greece will feel they have to take three points from their first match if they are to progress.

"If we win, we are in a position to try to qualify for the next round," Greece midfielder Christos Patsatzoglou said. "It's very important not to lose, everybody knows that."

South Korea will feel confident of a victory and look the more likely to go through. Their final warm-up game brought a creditable 1-0 defeat to Spain, and they beat Ivory Coast 2-0 in March on neutral territory. For Greece, their best result in the warm-up games was a 2-2 draw with North Korea.

However, South Korea have a couple of injury doubts, to Park Ji-Sung and Park Chu-Young, which could affect their hopes. Both players are expected to be available but, given the former's importance to the team, Huh Jung-Moo will have cause for concern.

South Korea player in focus: Park Ji-Sung. Having proved a vital player for Guus Hiddink for both South Korea and PSV Eindhoven, Park is now a hugely important part of the Manchester United squad. His work-rate is an obvious asset, but he is also capable of scoring goals. An injury scare has threatened to rule him out of the opener, but he is expected to return in time.

Greece player in focus: Sotirios Kyrgiakos. Otto Rehhagel relies completely on his defence remaining resolute so they can nick narrow victories from set-pieces and centre back Kyrgiakos, who joined Liverpool from AEK Athens last summer, is absolutely central to that aim.

Key battle: Lee Chung-Yong v Kostas Katsouranis. In a heavily defensive team, Panathinaikos' Katsouranis is the defensive midfield general. He will need to work hard to contain 21-year-old Bolton starlet Lee, whose skilful and inventive play from the midfield makes him a huge asset for South Korea.

Trivia: Greece coach Otto Rehhagel, 71, will be the oldest coach at the World Cup.

Stats: Greece have never won a World Cup match, having qualified for just one previous tournament (USA '94). Greece striker Theofanis Gekas, though, was the top scorer in European qualification for this year's World Cup, scoring ten goals.

Odds: South Korea (2.87), the draw (3.10), Greece (2.62) with Bet365. A 1-0 win for South Korea looks good value at 7.00.

Prediction: South Korea have been impressive in many of their warm-up games and, while Greece are always hard to beat, the 2002 semi-finalists should have enough to take the win.

June 11, 2010, 10:24 PM
Argentina v Nigeria Preview (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264037&cc=4716&ver=global)

The talent in the Argentina squad is so vast that Diego Maradona has left out two of Inter Milan's Champions League-winning stars - Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti - and the two-goal hero of the final, Diego Milito, may be his sixth-choice forward.

Nonetheless, the coach's selections and tactics have been so erratic that a team that could have been the overall favourite is considered to have little hope of going beyond the quarter-finals. That may be unfair, and the negative press could prove a motivating factor, but the fact remains that few believe they can compete with the very best this summer.

Nigeria's preparations have been no less hectic. The Nigerian federation finally decided to dismiss Shaibu Amodu after the African Nations Cup and appointed former Sweden boss Lars Lagerback in February. Lagerback is a good and experienced coach, but the lack of preparation time has severely damaged his hopes of getting it right in South Africa.

Argentina player in focus: Lionel Messi. While Messi has often struggled to find his best form under Diego Maradona, it is welcome news that the coach is planning to adopt a 4-3-3 formation with the Barcelona star featuring alongside Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez. The rumours are that Messi will be given a free role and allowed to drift behind his fellow attackers, which could allow him to flourish on the world stage.

Nigeria player in focus: Obafemi Martins. While Nigeria are not short of attacking talent, Martins has the best goals-to-games ratio for the Super Eagles with 17 goals in 31 appearances. The Wolfsburg man scored the goal that took Nigeria to the tournament and, having played in Serie A and the Premier League before his stint in Germany, he is used to coming up against the very best.

Key battle: Javier Mascherano v Haruna Lukman, a 19-year-old who plays his club football for Monaco, faces the task of replacing John Obi Mikel in the Nigeria midfield. Mikel plays a far more creative role for his national side than at Chelsea, so his replacement will need to be on top form to get the better of one of the game's greatest defensive midfielders and supply the attackers.

Trivia: Diego Maradona is the father-in-law of Argentina striker Sergio Aguero.

Stats: Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero were Argentina's leading scorers in qualification with four goals apiece. Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez and Martin Palermo each scored one.

Odds: Argentina (1.50), the draw (3.80), Nigeria (8.00) with Bet365. Carlos Tevez is at 6.00 for first or last goal-scorer.

Prediction: Argentina remain a difficult team to predict, given their wretched performances in qualifying and their wealth of talent available. Nonetheless, France reached the final four years ago despite difficulties with their coach and Maradona's men could surprise a few people in South Africa. Lagerback has had little time to work with his squad since taking over in February and, with John Obi Mikel ruled out through injury, Argentina should come out with a win.

June 12, 2010, 11:10 AM
Todays Results

South Korea 2 : 0 Greece
Argentina 1 : 0 Nigeria

June 16, 2010, 10:47 PM
Top two do battle in Group B (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264039&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

Johannesburg's Soccer City is the setting for the summit meeting of the joint leaders of Group B. Diego Maradona's Argentina dazzled in bursts when defeating Nigeria 1-0 in their opening fixture while South Korea top the group on goal difference thanks to a 2-0 victory over Greece. A win for either side on Thursday, coupled with a draw in the later kick-off between Greece and Nigeria, will ensure qualification for the latter stages.

There is little doubt that prior to the tournament, the mysterious North Koreans aside, Argentina were the team generating the most intrigue, thanks chiefly to the unpredictable nature of their coach. But Maradona's side produced one of the more memorable performances of a poor first round of games in their victory over Nigeria. With Lionel Messi close to his scintillating best, only a superb performance from goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama prevented them from enjoying a more comfortable margin of victory.

Argentina will be deprived of Juan Sebastian Veron after he was removed in the second half of the Nigeria victory due to a muscle injury, with Liverpool's Maxi Rodriguez expected to replace him in midfield. Otherwise, Maradona could field the same side - a rare display of consistency from a coach who chopped and changed with alarming regularity during qualification.

South Korea could welcome back striker Lee Dong-Gook following a thigh injury and will possibly adopt a more conservative shape against the South Americans. However, in their game against Greece, Huh Jung-Moo's men demonstrated why they are Asia's finest side with a positive, controlled and cultured performance. The iconic Park Ji-Sung scored a memorable goal and more magic will be required if South Korea are to cling on to top spot.

Argentina player to watch: Lionel Messi. It is hardly an original choice, but Messi was electric in spells against Greece and was desperately unlucky not to get a goal. The Barcelona star is often said to perform at a superior level for his club than his country, but appears ready to put that particular accusation to bed. Expect fireworks.

South Korea player to watch: Park Chu-Young. The Monaco forward was a sprightly presence against Greece and has a sizeable reputation to uphold. As one of South Korea's leading players, much is expected of the 24-year-old and he could cause a suspect Argentina backline some problems.

Key battle: Gonzalo Higuain v Jung Sung-Ryong. Higuain saw a succession of chances come and go against Nigeria as he was denied by the inspired Enyeama, and will be looking to make amends on Thursday. He scored 27 goals in 32 league games for Real Madrid last season and Jung will need to be on top form to frustrate him further.

Trivia: Argentina beat South Korea 3-1 in the first round of the 1986 World Cup, with Diego Maradona providing all three assists for his side. South Korea coach Huh Jung-Moo was the man assigned to mark Maradona on the day.

Stats: Only Maradona, with nine, has produced more World Cup assists for Argentina since 1966 than Juan Sebastian Veron, who has claimed five.

Odds: Argentina (1.44), the draw (4.20) and South Korea (8.00) with Bet365. Those odds on a South Korean win look tempting.

Prediction: It all depends on Argentina. Do not expect a rout by any means, as South Korea are a fine side in their own right. It will be tight, and a minor shock could be on the cards.

June 16, 2010, 10:51 PM
Elimination haunts Greece and Nigeria (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264040&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

Nerves will be jangling in Bloemfontein on Thursday as both Greece and Nigeria know that another defeat could be enough to bring an early end to their World Cup campaign. Greece were insipid when losing 2-0 to South Korea in their opening game in Group B while Nigeria fell at the feet of an entertaining Argentina side. A draw is unlikely to suffice; this is very much a must-win game.

Greece coach Otto Rehhagel finds himself in the deepest predicament. With Argentina to come in his side's final game, Greece really need to throw off the defensive shackles that inhibited their performance in a 2-0 defeat to South Korea. However, history suggests that Rehhagel's hugely negative side are unlikely to do so. Indeed, with Sotirios Kyrgiakos expected to return to the side and Vangelis Moras fit again, solidity and caution will be their watchwords.

Looking to break down the wall of Greek shirts will be a Nigeria attack that, at times, threatened to undo Diego Maradona's Argentina. Coach Lars Lagerback may look to start Obafemi Martins after he made a positive impression from the bench at Ellis Park while talented winger Peter Odemwingie is also pushing for a start in place of Chinedu Ogbuke.

This Nigeria side may suffer in comparison with memorable teams from the country's past, but on Thursday they have the chance to take the initiative against Greece. How well they fare may determine their fate in Group B.

Greece player in focus: Theofanis Gekas. Greece must win, and if they do manage to create any chances of note then Gekas is the man they will rely on to put the ball away. The Eintracht Frankfurt striker scored ten goals in 11 games in qualifying to top the goalscoring charts on the continent.

Nigeria player in focus: Obafemi Martins. The Wolfsburg striker was the only Nigeria player to manage a shot on target against Argentina in their opening game and with his pace, direct style and finishing ability, should represent a real threat against Greece.

Key battle: Alexandros Tzorvas v Yakubu. Tzorvas will be the last line of a resolute defence and if the 'keeper is on form, then Yakubu may face a frustrating afternoon in front of goal. The Everton striker scored just five Premier League goals last season and has struggled with his fitness for some time.

Trivia: Nigeria are the only team at the World Cup finals that do not have a single squad member playing in the country's domestic league.

Stats: Greece have failed to score a goal in four attempts in World Cup games. They have, however, conceded 12 goals. If they do not score again, they will level the record for the most consecutive games without a goal, matching Bolivia.

Odds: Greece (4.00), the draw (3.25) and Nigeria (2.00) with Bet365. Draw at HT, Nigeria at FT looks a good bet at 4.33.

Prediction: If Greece continue to show no attacking initiative then it must be hoped that Nigeria snatch a late win. There will not be a glut of chances though.

June 17, 2010, 08:37 AM
argentina almost there .......... unless too many results go against them

June 17, 2010, 11:21 AM
2 games completed this group this is the situation for each team to qualify .....

argentina: draw or win in last game agaisnt greec, they are group champs. the only way they will be out if both greece and SK wins their last match and both overtakes argentina in GD. both SK and needs to win by 3 goal margin.

nigeria: they need to win by two clear goals and also hope greece lose. draw or lose they are out.

sk and greece: if both draw SK through. if both win, the team with better winning margin goes through. if both loses it comes to GD between nigeria, SK and greece.

SO all teams have a chance to still qualify

June 21, 2010, 01:01 PM
Runners-up spot up for grabs (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264041&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

After a comfortable 2-0 victory against Greece in their opening game, South Korea were brought back down to earth in dramatic fashion by an emphatic defeat to a ruthless Argentina side. Huh Jung-Moo's players competed well with the South Americans until the third goal was conceded and there was enough to suggest that they can still get through the group with a positive result.

Led by captain Park Ji-Sung, South Korea proved to be an effective outfit against Greece, combining solid defensive organisation with attacking flair through the likes of Lee Chung-Yong Park Chu-Young. The players will be hurting after the Argentina result, but as long as the sound team ethic remains intact, Huh's side should be able to progress.

Nigeria's task is simple. They must beat South Korea and hope that Argentina defeat Greece. If that happens, they will progress to the second round on goal difference, a reward of sorts for keeping the deficit against Argentina down to a single goal, while South Korea capitulated. The Super Eagles have a team full of talented individuals and against both Argentina and Greece showed great promise in the attacking third, though the main problem has been finishing the chances that have been created. Lars Lagerback's side will need to be at their penetrative best to beat South Korea, but will have the support of a continent hoping that Nigeria don't become the second African side to be eliminated.

South Korea player to watch: Yeom Ki-Hun. One of South Korea's most dangerous outlets, Kim has proved to be effective as either a left-winger in a 4-4-2 formation or as the left-sided forward in an attacking trio alongside Park Ji-Sung and Park Chu-Young. A tricky player with bags of pace, he will be asked to test the inexperienced Nigeria right-back Samuel Inkoom.

Nigeria player to watch: Vincent Enyeama. Nigeria's star at the 2010 finals so far, he has been instrumental in keeping the Super Eagles' defeats respectable, with FIFA naming him man of the match for his displays against both Argentina and Greece. A mistake against the Greeks was overshadowed by numerous other saves and he has displayed consistent catching and shot-stopping ability - as a certain Lionel Messi will testify.

Key Battle: Dickson Etuhu v Kim Jung-Woo. With Sani Kaita suspended, there will be more responsibility for Nigeria's tough-tackling defensive midfielder Etuhu. He struggled to do the job of two men after Kaita was sent-off against Greece but his athleticism and physicality was impressive against Argentina and he will be charged with stifling Park Ji-Sung and playmaker Kim. A busy central midfielder with a very effective pressing game, Kim has the ability to pick a telling pass and comparisons with Paul Scholes are heightened because of his tendency to be booked for rash challenges.

Trivia: On the day after giving up four goals to Argentina, South Korea goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong had some good news: his wife giving birth to their new baby boy.

Stats: South Korea has failed to advance from the group stage six times, the third-highest total in World Cup history. The only teams not to advance as often as South Korea are Scotland (8) and Mexico (7).

Odds: Nigeria (3.75), South Korea (2.60), the draw (3.25) are all on offer at Bet365, while Nigeria to lead at half-time but South Korea to win is at 34.00.

Prediction: South Korea were embarrassed by a hugely talented Argentina side, but proved against Greece that they are capable of winning against a side of lesser quality. Nigeria have flattered to deceive so far and it should be the continent of Asia and not Africa that will have a representative advance to the second round.

June 21, 2010, 01:05 PM
Greek tragedy awaits against awesome Argentina (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264042&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

As the half-time whistle approached in Greece's match against Nigeria, Otto Rehhagel's side were staring a group stage exit in the face. But Dimitrios Salpingidis' goal - amazingly Greece's first ever at the World Cup - brought them level and with Nigeria reduced to ten men, the Pirate Ship went on to record an historic victory.

Defeat to South Korea in the opening game was made all the more disappointing because of the tame performance, but it was rectified as Greece mustered a significantly improved display against the Super Eagles to give themselves a chance of progress from Group B. Now Rehhagel, the oldest coach in World Cup history, must mastermind a way past the most intimidating of obstacles, Diego Maradona's Argentina.

Comparing the individuals at both sides' disposal makes for grim reading if you are associated with Greece. The likes of Salpingidis and Theofanis Gekas are certainly no match for Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain on paper, but Rehhagel has made his name by springing the most shocking of upsets. But even if the spirit of Euro 2004 is invoked on Tuesday, one feels it may still not be enough to overcome a hugely impressive Argentina side.

Higuain spurned several opportunities in the narrow 1-0 victory over Nigeria but the Real Madrid striker was at his prolific best in his last outing, netting a hat-trick against South Korea. Argentina have been inspired by the irrepressible Messi, who seems determined to prove that he can succeed where Ronaldinho failed - by proving his credentials as one of the world's best on the biggest stage of them all. For Maradona, it's simply a case of "same again please boys", and if his players heed that call, there is little hope for Greece.

Greece player to watch: Giorgos Karagounis.The"Greek Gattuso", as he is affectionately known, is not just a tenacious midfield dynamo, but the Greeks' creator-in-chief. Capable of playing in either defensive or attacking midfield, Karagounis has drifted between the two roles in the opening two games - looking particularly dangerous in an offensive capacity against Nigeria. Greece are renowned for their ability from set-pieces and Karagounis is the man they rely on to deliver.

Argentina player to watch: Carlos Tevez. The industrious Tevez failed to find the net in the first two fixtures but he has continued to be an effective outlet in harassing opposing defenders. He continues to demonstrate a high work rate and despite Diego Milito and Sergio Aguero waiting in the wings, Tevez's overall contribution to the team should mean he retains his place even if he continues to fire blanks.

Key Battle: Dimitrios Salpingidis v Gabriel Heinze - Salpingidis' purposeful display against Nigeria resulted in the Greece forward netting the equalising goal and he has the potential to be a menace when drifting out to the wings where he will look to exploit Jonas Guttierez's lack of defensive nous and Heinze's lack of pace. Argentina continue to be dominant in attack but it's at the back where question marks remain, with Heinze and defensive partner Martin Demichelis prone to lapses in concentration.

Trivia: There are eight Panathinaikos players in Greece's World Cup squad, the largest representation by one club in any World Cup team. There are three clubs with seven representatives in one World Cup squad: Bayern Munich (Germany), Barcelona (Spain) and April 25 (North Korea).

Stats: Gonzalo Higuain (age 22 years, 189 days) became the youngest player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup match since Florian Albert (20 years, 261 days) against Bulgaria in 1962. Only two other Argentines aged 22 or younger have scored multiple goals in one game at the World Cup: Diego Maradona (age 21) in 1982 and Carlos Peucelle (21) in 1930.

Odds: Greece(6.00), Argentina (1.61), the draw (3.80) are all on offer at Bet365. A 1-0 win for Greece may seem like a long shot but it's priced at 13.00.

Prediction: Greece have to go all-out to win the game and they have proved under Rehhagel before that they are more than capable of holding on to one-goal leads at major tournaments. But their desire to get forward will open them up, and with Messi & Co waiting to pounce, Argentina have more than enough quality to emerge as winners.

June 22, 2010, 03:32 PM
so argentia qualifies topping the group, south Korea finishes 2nd