Defence still a concern despite emphatic win for Argentina

Park Chu-Yong (og) 16, Higuain 33, 76, 80

Lee Chung-Yong 45+1

Gonzalo Higuain’s hat-trick gave Argentina a dominating victory over Korea Republic at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, however defence continues to blight their World Cup chances.

Diego Maradona made one change from the side that overcame Nigeria 1-0 on Saturday. Juan Veron was injured and made way for Maxi Rodriguez, with Jonas Gutierrez retaining his spot at right back, where he continued to look uncomfortable. The first half saw La Albiceleste create many goal-scoring chances, with Lionel Messi at his majestic best. The opening goal had a hint of fortune, as Korean poster-boy, Park Chu-Young converted a corner off his shin past his own keeper to give Argentina the lead. Ki Sung-Yong did trouble Sergio Romero with a cracking 30 yard shot that went over the bar just after the goal, however it was all the South American’s after that.

Carlos Tevez, the promising Angel Di Maria and Messi went closest to scoring a second, just before Higuain got his first of the afternoon, a header from close range. Just before half-time, Lee Chung-Yong managed to get Korea Republic back into the game, after the suspect Martin Demichelis failed to keep the ball under control and Yong snuck in to slot it past Romero.The goal seemed to shock Argentina as they started slowly in the second half and Korea had the belief. Unfortunately a glorious chance went begging for the Asians and Maradona’s side made them pay with a third goal. Messi’s initial shot was well saved, the follow up from the Barcelona man hit the post, before Higuain tapped in the rebound. By this time the South Americans were running the show and killed the game off for good with the best move of the match. Messi deftly floated a ball into the path of Sergio Aguero, who chipped the ball with the outside of his boot into Higuain to head past the keeper to nab the first hat-trick of this World Cup.

Argentina played some beautiful football at times. Messi was as usual the orchestrator, with Aguero coming off the bench to offer Maradona something extra in attack. They continue to offer the most feared attack in the competition; it is the defence which causes more concern. Demichelis’s error allowed South Korea to get back into the game and he and Gutierrez continue to struggle at the back. Gutierrez will be suspended for the last group game against Greece on Tuesday, after picking up his second yellow card of the competition. Expect Nicloas Burdisso or Nicloas Otamendi to replace the Newcastle defender at right-back. Inter striker Diego Milito should also be given more of a chance, as Maradona will look to rest some of his players for the last 16.

South Korea battled well and should have bagged an equaliser. Yeom Ki-Hun was put though, but struck the ball wide with the inside of his left foot, where a right foot effort would have sufficed. Korea will almost certainly have to beat Nigeria in their final group game to reach the last 16. They showed they have the determination and attacking ability to be able to break down an average Nigerian defence.


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