The World Cup is finally coming to life. I was hoping for an exciting game between Argentina and Korea and Maradona’s team didn’t disappoint. South Korea tried to follow the Switzerland blueprint but Messi taught his Barca teammates a lesson or two in breaking resolute defences.
In fairness, the Koreans weren’t as well organized as Hitzfeld’s team and the own goal didn’t help their cause. Once they were forced to move out it was always going to open up for the Argentines. I must say Messi has taken his game to a different level in this tournament. At Barcelona, he enjoys a free role and others do bulk of the work in midfield but Maradona is playing him behind two strikers and in front of a weak midfield.
Messi regularly drops deep and has been running the show from midfield. This can be seen from the high number of passes he has and the heat map shows he spends a lot of time in the middle third, something he would rarely have to do at Barcelona.
Higuain got the man of the match award, which was a clichéd decision in my opinion. Just because he got three tap-ins doesn’t mean he was the best player in the game!
I’m still not convinced Maradona can take Argentina all the way but when you have a guy like Messi in the team even a clueless manager can look like a genius.
The same cannot be said about France though. In 2006 they had Zidane and Domenech got away with it. Unfortunately for the French manager, Ribery and co don’t look like they can cover his weaknesses.
In one of the most disjointed, disgraceful, and dispirited performances at the World Cup France succumbed to Mexico. Aguirre’s team deserved the win as they defended well, worked hard and took their chances on the break.
I hope South Africa pile on some more misery on a team that should never have been at this World Cup in the first place. I’m sure Ireland would have done much better!
Three Arsenal players were on the pitch. Vela had a decent start and made some good runs, he also missed a good chance when he smashed over from close range. We were then reminded that he is an Arsenal player as he limped off the field on the half hour mark. Diaby too had a decent start and was dominating the midfield but then went missing as the team struggled to gel. Sagna had a Sagnaesque game.
In the other game of the day the most noteworthy aspect was two goalkeeping errors – The Greek keeper let in a free kick as he reacted to the strikers movement in front of him and his Nigerian counterpart spilled a straight shot that allowed Torosidis to tap in from close range.
Victor Enyeama has had two brilliant games at this World Cup, winning the man of the match award in both, but even he was guilty of a mistake that cost his team the match. Of course, Sani Kaita made life difficult for his teammates with a silly red card so it would not be fair to blame Enyeama alone for the defeat.
Tomorrow’s games will be worth watching. I’ve an interest in the US games as I’m based here and England games are always fun if, like me, you don’t have an emotional involvement. Germany take on a better organized and slightly more defensive team in Serbia and we will get a chance to see whether Ozil and co are the real deal.