22 June 2010

NIGERIA 2 (Uche 12, Yakubu 69 Pen)
SOUTH KOREA 2 (Lee 38, Park 49)

Odiah muscled his way through two challenges on the right flank before driving in a centre and Uche, who until the 49th minute was the only player at this World Cup to score direct from a free kick, arrived from nowhere to side foot the ball past Jung. Uche almost made it 2-0 with an awesome strike from 25 yards which rebounded off the outside of the right post. Two minutes later Sung-Yung hit an amazing free kick which arched across the box, over the heads of the massed ranks in the penalty area then suddenly dropped at the back post, Jung-Soo shaped to head the ball but it went in off his shin. This ball is great for crossing, the flight is just perfect.

Chu-Young put the Korean's a goal up direct from a free kick with a brilliant low shot which sailed around the wall and bounced into the bottom right corner. The commentators blamed goalkeeper Enyeama but I thought it was a great shot. Yakubu was guilty of one of THE worst misses of all time. Uche released Ayila on the overlap, he pulled back a centre and from two yards and I do mean two yards with the goal at his mercy, with goalkeeper Jung horizontal Yakubu shot wide of the left post. It gets worse every time you see it. Within four minutes of replacing Ki-Kun, Kim Nam-Il scythed down Obasi to concede a stone wall penalty. Yakubu made amends for his earlier miss by sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. Martins blew a great chance to win the match late on. It wouldn't have mattered for Nigeria but would have sent the Greeks through and mercifully we were sparred that.

The best performance by a Lars Largerback team I have probably ever seen. The Koreans know how to work this ball better than any team in the tournament. Their set piece delivery was off the charts. Fantastic stuff and they fully deserve their last 16 place, they are great to watch.

Attendance : 61,874
Assists : Odiah, Sung-Yung (fk), Chu-Young, Obasi (won pen)

ARGENTINA 2 (Demichelis 77, Palermo 89)

"If the paint hasn't dried in this new stadium then all the fans should go watch it" - the GREAT Mick McCarthy on 70 minutes. That's how much this match sucked, that is until 13 minutes from time. Demichelis headed a corner against Milito then hammered in the rebound. Messi danced over two tackles on the edge of the box as he made his way towards the centre circle and let rip with a stinging left foot shot, Tzorvas parried and Palermo, who replaced Aguero seconds before Demichelis scored, tapped in the rebound.

Three games, zero goals so far for Messi. His World Cup is eerily similar to Van Basten's Euro 1992 in that he arrived as the best player in the World, was his teams outstanding performer, did everything but score then missed a crucial penalty in a shoot-out. If Messi doesn't score against Mexico and IF I was a betting man I'd put money on his choking if Argentina go to penalties.

Attendance : 38,891
Assists : Milito, n/a

17 June 2010

GREECE 2 (Salpingidis 44, Torosidis 71)
NIGERIA 1 (Uche 16 fk)

Uche scored with an awful free kick. Kaita is an early contender for the bumblef*ck of the World Cup award. Torosidis grabbed the ball after it had gone out of play, Kaita kicked his left thigh, red card. He left the field with his shirt covering his face like a criminal being escorted away which is of course appropriate. What's the old cliché about the indiscipline of African teams? The Greeks equalised on half time, Salpingidis' shot took a wild deflection in off the unfortunately named Lukman Haruna. One season wonder Gekas should have put the Greeks in front following a dreadful mistake by Yobo but shot straight at Enyeama, Nigeria used their devastating pace to launch an immediate counter, Obasi centred to Yakubu, Tzorvas saved but the rebounded fell at the feet of Obasi who contrived to miss with an open goal at his mercy. Enyeama, the one Nigeria player who has stood above all others at this tournament, caught Tziolis' grasscutter then dropped the ball and Torosidis snared the rebound.

Greece's first ever World Cup victory.

Attendance : 31,593
Red Card : Kaita 33 (Nigeria)
Assists : Odemwingie (won fk), n/a, n/a

ARGENTINA 4 (Chu Young 16 og, Higuain 33, Higuain 76, Higuain 80)
SOUTH KOREA 1 (Chung Yong 45)

Chu Young deflected a Messi free kick past his own goalkeeper. Samuel went off on 22 minutes with a hamstring injury. If he's out for any length of time Argentina are toast. Argentina worked a short free kick on the left, Burdisso flicked on Maxi's cross and Higuain's low header bounced under Seongnam at his near post. Seongnam flapped at a cross but quickly got to his feet to make an excellent one handed save from flop Di Maria on the rebound and Messi still couldn't find the finish to match his highlight reel approach play. Chung Young caught Demichelis dithering on the edge of the box, despite Burdisso shouting and pointing in the direction of the Korean midfielder, Chung Young ran into the box and flicked over Romero as he advanced off his line.

Yeom Ki Hun should have equalised on the break, Chung Yong's brilliant pass left him with only the 'keeper to beat but he shot wide. Higuain put Argentina 3-1 up on the break, tapping in a rebound after Messi hit the woodwork. He scored the first hat-trick of the World Cup, and second header, four minutes later after combining with Messi and Aguero on another counter.

Attendance : 82,174
Assists : n/a, Burdisso, n/a, n/a, Aguero

12 June 2010

SOUTH KOREA 2 (Jung Soo 7, Ji Sung 52)

The Korean's took an early lead from a free kick. Sung Yong's excellent cross was inadvertently headed across goal by Katsouranis which understandably throw off Charisteas and the man he should have been marking, Jung Soo, volleyed in at the back post. Park released Chu Young on the counter with a brilliant pass inside a defender, as he bore down on goal Tzorvas stood tall and made a great save with his feet. Park pounced on a poor touch by Vyntra in his own half, turned on the afterburners, skipped a tackle, which could have easily been a red card had he gone down, then shot wide of Tzorvas. It took the Greeks almost 80 minutes to force Seongnam into a save, Gekas turned onto a deflected cross and drilled a left foot shot at goal which Seongnam tipped over with a superb one handed save. Tzorvas, by far Greece's best player, made an excellent finger-tip save to deny Chung-Young a third on the break.

Attendance : 31,500
Assists : n/a, n/a

ARGENTINA 1 (Heinze 6)

The only goal came from a corner. Heinze broke from his marker, Obbina, who was standing around with a thumb up his arse, and threw himself at the ball, sending a diving header crashing under the crossbar. Nigeria's goalkeeper, Enyeama, took more shots than a Japanese tourist, making World Class saves from Messi on no less than three occasions and also denying choker Higuain, who also missed an open goal. Nigeria would have came away with a point had Uche not shanked Yakubu's cross.

In the BBC's post match analysis in between continually saying every player needs to enjoy themselves whenever asked a question Adebayor did make a good point when he said Nigeria played with the handbrake on.

Attendance : 50,389
Assist : Veron (ck)