World Cup: Group B Matchday Commentary

World Cup: Group B Matchday Commentary

World Cup 2010

World Cup: Group B Matchday Commentary

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ArgentinaLogo GreeceLogo NigeriaLogo SouthKoreaLogo

By AVI CREDITOR

Argentina's spot atop Group B is pretty much solidified, but the three other teams in the group still have shots at advancing to the knockout stage.

The way things stand entering the matches, Argentina is in first place with six points, followed by South Korea and Greece with three apiece, and Nigeria still looking to get on the board. The tight goal differential makes for an intriguing race for second place, though.

Diego Maradona's side has impressed in victories over Nigeria and South Korea and will look to make it three wins in a row against upstart Greece (2:30 p.m., ESPN/ESPN3.com). A win or draw for Argentina would clinch the group, but even a loss wouldn't necessarily take Lionel Messi & Co. from the top spot.

Nigeria will look to ride the hot goalkeeping of Vincent Enyeama in its match against South Korea (2:30 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3.com). A win by the Super Eagles would keep them in contention, but a loss would send another African side tumbling out of the tournament.

I'll be providing commentary on Group B action, with a focus on the Nigeria-South Korea match. Please feel free to follow along and share any thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. Enjoy the games (commentary after the jump).

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POSTGAME – That's all for me for now. Thanks for following along, and be sure to check SBI for more Group B, USA-Algeria and World Cup coverage.

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POSTGAME – The first pairings for the Round of 16 are set. Argentina will face Mexico, Uruguay will face South Korea.

Fantastic drama today will only be multiplied during the rest of the week as the remaining teams jockey for table position and a place in the knockout stage.

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POSTGAME – South Korea advances from the group stage for the first time on foreign soil. The other time was during the semifinal run in 2002 when it co-hosted the tournament.

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90th Minute – There's the final whistle!! And another African team crashes out of the tournament. South Korea holds on for a 2-2 tie that will undoubtedly feel like a sweet victory.

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90th Minute – Ball gets played out of bounds for a South Korea throw-in. This should be it.

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90th Minute – Park Chu-Young comes out for Kim Dong-Jin. Tick, tock, tick, tock.

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90th Minute – Nigeria pushing forward. About a minute to go.

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90th Minute – Obinna just wide again! His brave shot from distance goes wide right. What drama.

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90th Minute – Three minutes of stoppage time.

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89th Minute – Martin Palermo puts Argentina up 2-0 on Greece. Argentina will win Group B, as expected.

Obinna rattles the side netting! JUST wide!

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88th Minute – Martins can't control an Odiah ball into the box. He could've done better with that.

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87th Minute – Kim Jae-Sung comes on for Kim Sung-Yueng as precious seconds tick away.

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83rd Minute – Again, if this result holds, Argentina and South Korea are through. If Nigeria can find a winner, it will advance. Greece is on life support.

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81st Minute – Nice give-and-go with Obinna and Etuhu but the shot from the top of the area is wide. Can either side deliver a knockout punch?

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80th Minute – Martins misses wide! Another awful miss! Nigeria is killing itself. Martins had to chip over the sliding keeper, but he's got to hit the target from there.

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78th Minute – Argentina has finally cracked Greece's defense with a Martin Demichelis goal off a corner. 1-0 Argentina. Both South Korea and Nigeria benefit from that news.

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77th Minute – SAVE ENYEAMA! He dives to his left to get his hand on a Lee Chung-Yong shot. Plenty of space for him to work with, and Enyeama comes up huge.

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76th Minute – Park Ji-Sung hooks a shot wide after shaking Efiejile with a sweet shimmy inside the box.

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74th Minute – Obasi mis-hits a cross and now he's down with what looks like a cramp.

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73rd Minute – Efiejile with a game-saving tackle on Park Chu-Young inside the area. Very well done there.

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72nd Minute – Dangerous corner for South Korea, but Nigeria escapes unscathed. South Korea would still go through if things stay how they are.

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71st Minute – Victor Obinna is on for Yakubu now. A new partnership up top for Nigeria.

Shittu ALMOST with an awful own goal on a Cha Du-Ri cross, but it's out for a corner.

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70th Minute – Nigeria is remarkably still alive after shooting itself in the foot over and over and over again.

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69th Minute GOAL NIGERIA! YAKUBU CALMLY HITS THE PK! 2-2!

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68th Minute – Obassi creates that all on his own. He chased Kim Nam-Il from behind in the box and managed to actually draw the foul. Nigeria has a pulse.

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68th Minute – PENALTY!

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66th Minute – How does Yakubu miss?? He just made Kei Kamara look good, and that's not easy.

Ayila with the cross to the goal mouth, and Yakubu managed to touch it off the left post. Wow. That was the definition of a sitter.

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65th Minute – Greece and Argentina still scoreless. Looks like Victor Obinna will be Nigeria's final sub.

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64th Minute – That touch will be Yeom Ki-Hun's last. He's off for Kim Nam-Il in a possession-minded substitution.

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63rd Minute – SAVE ENYEAMA! He gets his hand on a Park Chu-Young touch off a beautiful textbook cross from Yeom Ki-Hun. That would've been the dagger.

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62nd Minute – Dangerous run from Obasi, but he's tripped up and doesn't get the foul call outside the area.&#016
0;

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59th Minute – Yakubu takes entirely too long with space at the top of the area, and Kim Jung-Woo catches him from behind to kick away trouble. That would've made things interesting.

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57th Minute – Obafemi Martins will come on for Kanu as Lars Lagerback looks for another offensive formula. Nice shift for the veteran forward, but Nigeria needs fresh legs.

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56th Minute – No urgency for Nigeria. They've got to force the action now that they're chasing the game and their World Cup hopes.

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55th Minute – Park Chu-Young with a powerful shot from distance on the free kick that goes just wide right. What a take.

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54th Minute – It's a good thing we didn't make "South Korea Free Kicks" today's drinking game. We'd all have our stomachs pumped by the hour mark.

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53rd Minute – South Korea controlling the run of play now. That goal was a massive hit to Nigeria's slim hopes.

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51st Minute – Enyeama has had such marvelous tournament, but his two mistakes (allowing the rebound against Greece, misplaying this free kick) are going to stand out when people look back at Nigeria's World Cup.

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50th Minute – Enyeama misreads the kick, and South Korea has clawed its way back and into the lead. Nigeria has nobody to blame but itself for giving its opposition chance after chance in a dangerous position.

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49th Minute GOAL SOUTH KOREA!!! Park Chu-Young sticks the free kick!! 2-1 South Korea!

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48th Minute – Here we go again, another dangerous free kick coming for South Korea as Shittu commits the foul.

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47th Minute – Nigeria does have some firepower on its bench in Obafemi Martins, Victor Obinna and Peter Odemwingie.

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46th Minute – Uwa Echiejile comes on for Joseph Yobo in an interesting move. Nigeria needs goals, but it needs to be able to defend well too. 45 more minutes remain in Group B.

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HALFTIME – Greece is going to have to do more than just play defense and foul. The way things currently stand, the Greeks will need to attack the Argentina goal and score to make it through.

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HALFTIME – Credit South Korea with battling back to find the equalizer. The early goal from Nigeria could have been a death sentence, but Nigeria's inability to come up with clean tackles deep in its own half of the field led to South Korea leveling the score on a well-taken set piece.

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45th Minute – And there's the halftime whistle. Nigeria 1, South Korea 1.

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45th Minute – South Korea possessing to close out the half. Such a technically gifted side.

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45th Minute – Two minutes of stoppage time.

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44th Minute – Halftime nears in both matches. If these scorelines hold, Argentina and South Korea are through.

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42nd Minute – Yeom Ki-Hun hits it right at Enyeama. Easy save. The Koreans have all the momentum now.

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41st Minute – Ayila picks up a yellow for persistent infringement, committing ANOTHER foul outside the Nigeria area. What does it take to learn the lesson?

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39th Minute – Ki Sung-Yueng took the free kick well, and Lee ran onto it unmarked at the far post. Nigeria was living dangerously by yielding so many free kicks in their own end, and the Super Eagles have paid the price.

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38th Minute GOAL SOUTH KOREA!! Lee Jung-Soo heads home the free kick! 1-1!

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37th Minute – Awful challenge from behind on Obasi as Lee Young-Pyo was winding up for a cross. ANOTHER free kick deep in Nigeria territory.

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36th Minute – Uche with a BLAST off the right post! He took a touch to create space and sent a 20-yard laser on frame. What a shot.

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35th Minute – Park Chu-Young hits a slow grounder to the right of the goal. Wasted chance there, though there haven't been as many well-taken free kicks this World Cup as you'd expect.

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34th Minute – Park Ji-Sung draws a foul on Etuhu giving the Koreans another free kick within shooting range.

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33rd Minute – Slowed-down pace favors Nigeria. South Korea will need to press and up the tempo to accentuate its strengths.

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32nd Minute – Enyeama punches away the short free kick, and Nigeria dodges a bullet.

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31st Minute – Enyeama comes out of the area to try and beat Park Ji-Sung to the ball by the endline and he draws a yellow for the foul. Don't typically see that. 

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27th Minute – No goals in the Argentina-Greece match, but stats say that Argentina has had 82 percent of the possession. Sounds like a Greece match to me.

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26th Minute – Shittu with another saving tackle of what would have been an open shot from close range. He's been huge for Nigeria so far.

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25th Minute – Park Chu-Young doesn't get full power on a shot from the right in the area, and Enyeama makes the save with ease.

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23rd Minute – Shittu with a shot-saving tackle on a ball headed for Park Ji-Sung at the top of the area.

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22nd Minute – Uche's free kick just misses the upper 90 after a touch foul 25 yards out.

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20th Minute – Free kick headed out for a corner, but South Korea can't convert.

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20th Minute – Ayila with an unnecessary foul, and it sets up South Korea with a free kick deep in Nigeria territory on the right. 

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18th Minute – Nigeria has an attack stall out in the box, but the players in green are moving with an extra bounce in their step.

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16th Minute – Talk about a confidence boost. If Greece falls and this score holds, Nigeria is through after being left for dead. Greece and Argentina are still scoreless.

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15th Minute – Short corner doesn't yield much, and Nigeria takes over.

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14th Minute – Du-Ri tries to make up for his miscue by firing on goal, and Enyeama fumbles it out for a Korean corner.

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13th Minute – Odiah did the heavy lifting with a great run while hugging the right sideline. His cross went into space in the center of the box, and Uche snuck behind a napping Cha Du-Ri to slot home the chance. What a start for Nigeria.

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12th Minute GOAL NIGERIA!!! UCHE PUTS THE SUPER EAGLES ON TOP! 1-0 NIGERIA

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11th Minute – Shittu's back as Nigeria presses in the Korean end.

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9th Minute – Shittu's down after a non-contact injury. Odd. That would be a significant blow to Nigeria if he can't continue.

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8th Minute – Ki Sung-Yueng has all sorts of space to shoot from 20 yards, but he can't control the shot on frame. Nigeria will have to defend and close out better than that if it wants a ch
ance at keeping South Korea off the scoreboard.

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7th Minute – Great run and pass by Kanu, but Yakubu can't gather himself to make anything of it.

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6th Minute – Good defending by Cho Yong-Hyung to thwart a dangerous run down the left flank.

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5th Minute – Ayila whistled for a challenge from behind. Didn't look like there was a whole lot wrong with it, but no card given.

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4th Minute – Nigeria looking for a response. The Super Eagles need to enforce themselves early to not risk falling behind.

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2nd Minute – Lee Chung-Yong touches an early chance wide! He takes a knock after colliding with Enyeama, but what an early opportunity for South Korea. 

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1st Minute – Simultaneous matches with lots on the line are underway. 

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PREGAME – Who do you think makes it through from Group B? What are your predictions for both matches?

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PREGAME – Initial thoughts on Nigeria-South Korea:

It's pretty amazing that Nigeria could still go through even after losing its first two matches. No team has ever done that. Kanu enters the fray up top for Lars Lagerback and will look to provide a necessary spark.

South Korea is in great shape to move on, and a quick start could defeat Nigeria's spirit. A win isn't a must for the Koreans, because if Argentina beats Greece, a draw would get the job done.

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PREGAME – Initial thoughts on Argentina-Greece:

Argentina is LOADED at forward. Not that you didn't already know that. Out are Higuain and Tevez, in are Diego Milito and Sergio Aguero. That is some serious depth.

Greece's lineup is defensive-minded as usual, but something more than a miracle 1-0 win would be required to advance if South Korea defeats Nigeria. Theofanis Gekas and Dimitrios Salipingidis should be heard from before game's end.

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PREGAME – Here are the starting lineups for the Argentina-Greece match:

ARGENTINA

———Milito———Aguero———-Messi———

—Bolatti————-Veron———-M. Rodriguez—

–C. Rodriguez–Demichelis–Burdisso–Otamendi–

————————–Romero———————–

GREECE

—————-Samaras———-Karagounis————–

–Katsouranis———Papastathopoulous———Tziolis–

–Torosidis–Kyrgiakos–Papadopoulous–Moras–Vyntra–

—————————-Tzorvas—————————-

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PREGAME – Here are the starting lineups for the Nigeria-South Korea match:

NIGERIA

———Yakubu———Kanu———-

–Uche—-Ayila—-Etuhu—-Ogbuke–

–Afolabi—Shittu—-Yobo—Odiah–

—————–Enyeama————–

SOUTH KOREA

———————Chu-Young——————-

–Ji-Sung———-Ki-Hun———-Chung-Yong–

————Jung-Woo——-Sung-Yueng———

–Young-Pyo–Yong-Hyung–Jung-Soo–Du-Ri–

——————–Sung-Ryong——————

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