A hat trick from struggling forward Gonzalo Higuain was the story today in South Africa for Argentina. With Messi running around drawing defenders and setting up his teammates, South Korea forgot there was another bona fide forward worth covering, and I’m not talking about Carlos Tevez, who was also a headache for the Koreans, but rather Gonzalo Higuain. After a poor showing in the opening match, Higuain made amends by netting goals at the 33rd, 76th, 80th minute. Argentina dominated from start to finish in one of the more impressive showings to date in South Africa. The Argentines held the ball 57% of the time and managed 11 shots on goal while only receiving 2 against.
La Albiceleste got a lucky bounce to open the scoring in the 17th minute. Messi hurled in a free kick into the penalty area that deflected off Park Chu Young and into the net for an own goal.
The only goal against Argentina came in the last minute of play of the first half off a huge mistake by defender Martin Demichelis, who fell asleep and let Lee Chung Yong strip him of the ball a walk unchallenged for an easy breakaway goal. The victory solidifies Argentina as group leader with 6 pts with one game remaining against Greece. Barring 2 miracles ( A win by Greece coupled with a 3 goal Korean victory over Nigeria) Argentina will qualify for the round of 16. A win or a tie against Greece will clinch first place and will set them up for a match against either Mexico or Uruguay.
Argentina is playing solid football on all lines. Every World Cup they are considered a candidate to win it and their performance in the early going in South Africa has done nothing to change that. Today’s domination of South Korea will only increase the talk of them being one of the teams to beat. To think that Messi, although playing well, has not scored a goal yet or put on a jaw dropping performance makes one wonder how good this team could be. If he does, it might be 1986 all over again for La Albiceleste and Maradona would have to make good on his pledge to run naked around the Obelisk of Buenos Aires in celebration.
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Written by The Gator Great