By Mariano Tomás De Micheli
Lionel Messi returned to lead Argentina’s national team to another victory. In their second game those led by Diego Armando Maradona defeated South Korea 4-1, the supposed most dangerous rival of Group B. The Argentineans showed that their performance against Nigeria wasn’t mere luck and they corrected their weak points and improved de strong ones.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
First, Messi’s performance was incredible, even with the absence of Juan Sebastian Veron, which forced him to be the leader of the team, a role he fulfilled superbly. Most of the opportunities Maradona’s team had came from him. Like against Nigeria, Argentina took advantage earlier in the game, Messi’s free-kick hit Park Chu-Young and entered de goal. After scoring the team managed to control the ball, and continued attacking the Korean squad. Gonzalo Higuain gave a 2-0 lead with a great header, for the fans to celebrate madly, but at the end of the first half, Lee Chung-Yong gave hopes to South Korea scoring after Martin Demichelis’ slow reaction.
In the second half, Argentina continued to attack and again Messi featured as the key player, moving around the midfield and accurately passing the ball to Higuain and Tevez. Argentina’s coach decided to replace Tevez for Aguero and Atletico Madrid’s player showed why he is being followed by the most important clubs in the world. After a few minutes where South Korea was able to tie the game, Gonzalo Higuain appeared to score two more goals and the game ended there because the South Korean’s seemed out of ideas.
The defense and the midfield were again flawed. With a lot of time and much of the classification secured, Argentina will face Greece with some changes. Mascherano will leave the team because he already has had a yellow card and if he takes another, he will miss the second round match. The coaching staff wants to preserve Messi, but he wants to keep playing. The same happens with Tevez. It is still unknown whether Veron is playing or not.
Besides having the best player, Argentina proved to have enough weapons to be a candidate for the title. Diego Maradona has his mind set on beating Greece and moves towards the second round with his team as Group leader. If the team makes it to the second round, it will face Mexico or Uruguay (because it is very unlikely that France or South Africa will beat them) and a football classic match will be seen.