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Group B: Argentina, S. Korea are through; Nigeria joins ousted African nations


Photo by Ben Queenborough/


Greece could only sit back on its heels for so long.

Despite flustering Argentina's attack for almost 80 minutes, Diego Maradona's side, which controlled the vast majority of possession and peppered the Greek goal with shots, broke through the stingy defense on a Martin Demichelis header in the 77th minute and captured first place in Group B with a 2-0 victory.

La Albiceleste will be joined in the knockout stage by South Korea, which fought from behind to take the lead and then held on for a 2-2 draw with Nigeria to eliminate the Super Eagles. The Taegeuk Warriors reached the knockout stage for the first time on foreign soil, with the only other occasion coming during their miraculous semifinal run when they co-hosted the World Cup in 2002.

Argentina and South Korea joined Uruguay and Mexico as teams to cement their spots in the Round of 16, continuing the demise of European and African sides in this year's World Cup.

Here are brief recaps from Tuesday's final two matches:


Lionel Messi couldn't catch a break, either hitting the woodwork or having Greek goalie Alexandros Tzorvas come up with a big save, but it didn't matter, as Demichelis and late substitute Martin Palermo tallied the goals that sent Greece home.

Messi turned in another sterling performance, proving once again that he doesn't have to score to be the best player on the pitch. His saved shot rebounded to Palermo for the final dagger in Greece's World Cup run, and Argentina managed to dominate with somewhat of a B-team on the pitch.

Maradona trotted out a lineup that omitted Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez, Gabriel Heinze and Javier Mascherano, among others, but it didn't matter. Argentina controlled two-thirds of the possession and outshot Greece, 22-7.

La Albiceleste will meet Mexico in the Round of 16 for the second straight World Cup. Maxi Rodriguez' extra-time winner in 2006 eliminated El Tri from the tournament.


Lee Jung-Soo and Park Chu-Young scored off set pieces, and South Korea battled back from an early 1-0 deficit to keep its tournament run alive.

Nigeria shot itself in the foot repeatedly after Kalu Uche scored the opening goal in the 12th minute. Multiple times the Super Eagles were whistled for fouls deep in their own end, and twice the Taegeuk Warriors made them pay, as Lee scored his second goal of the tournament off a free-kick header, and Park hit a 20-yard free kick past Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama in the 49th minute. 

Yakubu had the miss of the tournament when he failed to score into an empty net from the goalmouth in the 66th minute. He bounced back to slot home a penalty kick just minutes later to tie the score at 2-all, and despite all its self-inflicted wounds (22 fouls, seven corner kicks yielded), Nigeria still stood a chance to advance.

However, second-half substitute Victor Obinna twice shot just wide in the final minutes, and Nigeria joined Cameroon and South Africa as African teams to tumble out of the tournament in the group stage.

By taking second place, South Korea secured itself a Round-of-16 date with Group A winner Uruguay.


1. Argentina……..9 points, +6 GD
2. South Korea…4 points, -1 GD
3. Greece…………3 points, -2 GD
4. Nigeria…………1 point, -3 GD


——Park C.Y.——–Higuain———Messi——-

—Park J.S.———Mascherano———Uche—–

–Heinze—-Demichelis——Lee J.S.—Torosidis–



Do you think Argentina will win it all? Who do you like in the Uruguay-South Korea matchup? Disappointed in the showing by the African teams?

Shrae your thoughts below.


  1. This has to be a really disappointing world cup for Africa. They finally get to host and it appears almost certain that by Friday every one of the five African teams in the world cup will be eliminated in the first round. They will have had their worst performances ever on their home soil.

    South Africa is the first host nation to ever be eliminated in the first round.

    Then you had all of the complaints about the vuvuzelas, some even thinking they should be banned.

    Well, at least they have so far proven skeptics of their ability to host the tournament wrong. There haven’t really been any major problems and everything was ready. That might bode well for future African nations to host.

  2. That’s funny!

    Bob is the only one who knows math. The players and other coaches just can’t figure it out. It seems so unfair that nearly every coach at the world cup makes more money than Bob.

  3. That’s why I really respected Bradley’s decision to take Onyewu off for Gomez against Slovenia. Sure it was a risk (and in this case it paid off) but I’ve seen very few teams so far at the tournament coached as if they’re at all aware of the group ramifications in-game. As if they don’t even know how many goals they need or what they need to do to advance. It boggles my mind how coaches can get away with this.

  4. Seconded. I’d throw Switzerland in there too. They’re better at the “put 10 tall men in your own penalty area” strategy, which in a way actually makes it worse.

    I mean, if they hadn’t been INSANELY unlucky against Chile (retarded red card/shank of a great chance in the final minutes), they’d be on their way to winning that group. Hell, they STILL have a good shot at getting out of it (basically just need to win and have Chile not lose by exactly one goal). It’s effective, but it’s about as much fun as watching paint peel.

  5. I don’t know If I can agree with park chu young being in your group’s top XI. true he scored a great free kick and had numerous chances throughought the group stage, everything besides the fk remains just that, chances. PCY has not proven at all that he is a goto striker for South Korea. he has been flustered around the net during the run of play. if anything Lee Chung Yong would be my player of the group for South Korea.

  6. Look at Palermo’s goal in a different light. He has won everything at the club level but had to wait to get his chance at national team glory late in his career. I’m sure scoring a goal in the WC has been a dream of his, so he celebrated like it. Argentina had fun the last 10 minutes of the game, and they have been the most entertaining side by far. I don’t mind having them celebrate their goals – they at least are giving the fans their money’s worth.

  7. Greece is a disgrace. I hope I never see them in a major tournament again. Needing a win to advance and bringing on an extra defender for a midfielder late in the game? It’s fine to be a defensive-minded team. But when you don’t ever alter your strategy, especially when you need to win to advance, it’s just an insult to the game. What are they here for then?

    They did the same thing at Euro 2008, which is why it really bothers me.

  8. I actually love seeing Maradona on the sideline, its like he belongs there in all his passion and madness – you’ve seen millions of clips and stories about his footballing brilliance, and now you see him once again – leading his nation to one marvelous WC performance after another.
    It’s great in my opinion!

  9. Watching the replay now…Palermo and Maradona celebrating his goal like they won the World Cup after he puts one into an empty net in the final minute of a game that Argentina has already won. We get it, Maradona has a crush on Palermo, but come on.

    Enough with the Maradona cam as well. They show him 10x more than any other coach. At least find him a decent tailor before the next round.

  10. I’m a Korea fan but they looked absolutely sluggish in almost every way. Randomly hustled, then would often fall asleep or have no sense of defensive urgency (first nigerian goal and the bizarre attempt to dribble out of the box that led to a pk later). Did they party to early and drink Soju all night?

  11. Palermo is the luckiest player in the world. He is always right there when it somehow rebounds off of the goalie right to him and he puts it away with luck.


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