South Korea Impress, Argentina Flatter to Deceive

Argentina v Nigeria

  1. Argentina have worked on their team work but apparently less so on their tactics. Once they passed their way to the Nigeria penalty box, they seem to have no real plan beyond giving the ball to Messi or looking for a pass out wide for a cross. The goal notwithstanding, Messi and Tevez were always unlikely to with headers against the central defenders. Higuain also is not a great header.
  2. The problem could be seen in stark focus – as you saw the great individual work by Messi or Tevez being punctuated by very prosaic passing. And every time an Argentina player received the ball, it was obvious, he had to think of what to do with it. That takes a precious fraction of a second away from making the next pass and that gives the defender a chance of a tackle. The instinctive passing that you should see from Argentina was just not there. And if you think that’s normal for a world cup, you should have seen the South Koreans earlier in the day.
  3. Criminally, in a break away move, in a 4 v 2 situation, any of the 4 Argentinian forwards couldn’t get the ball behind the 2 Nigerian defenders. That’s like playing a chess end game with 4 pawns versus 2 and managing to draw!
  4. Nigeria were terribly disappointing. First they were slow-footed, they lacked control and ambition, and when finally they got into the game, their decision making more often then not let them down. A couple of promising positions and a couple of real scoring opportunities were all resoundingly spurned.
  5. The commentators were all gushing over the Nigerian goalie. But to be fair, he made good saves, not astounding ones. Just lots of them. But let’s say Rob Green (West Ham) or Craig Gordon (Sunderland) have had at least half a dozen games in the year when they’ve each had to make more saves of this calibre in each game.

South Korea v Greece

  1. Greece are clearly still using their Euro 2004 blue-print. Frustrate the opposition and nick a late goal. Only today, their zonal marking let them down and allowed South Korea to take an early and deserved lead. And faced with a situation where they actually had to attack, Greece ran out of ideas very quickly.
  2. Like Argentina, South Korea thrilled with their attacking play. I was really impressed with the quality of their creative and attacking play. Lots of variations, using both flanks and the middle and Cha Du Ri, their right back really caught the eye.
  3. Park Ji Sung’s goal sealed the game – as he intercepted a lazy pass and burst past a couple of defenders to comfortably beat the onrushing goalkeeper.
  4. Obviously South Korea and Argentina are the favourites to go through in the group. But watch out for a possible surprise when they face each other in their next game.
%d bloggers like this: