BfB Goes To The World Cup 2010 (Without leaving the front room)

Argentina make seven changes from the team which beat South Korea 4-1 and while many would look to the fact that Lionel Messi is still in the side and Sergio Agüero and Diego Milito have come in and suggest that the South Americans have the talent to beet Otto Rehhagel’s practical Greeks winning the World Cup – if it is about anything – is about building up an understanding, a knack, a way of winning which breaking the rhythm of hampers.

Diego Maradona’s side are still full of attacking – Agüero has a chance to give the Argentines a lead but sees his shot go wide and with the exception of the odd punt to Georgios Samaras up front the game is Greek keeper Alexandros Tzorvas against whatever attacks can be thrown at him.

That that number is limited is mainly down to the organisation of the Greeks with a note for Sokratis Papastathopoulos who keeps an inch from Messi at all times. Messi still manages to ping a shot at goal and twice Juan Sebastián Verón sees shots well saved by Tzorvas.

The Greeks are good for a draw at half time and for a fifteen minutes in the first half it is good enough top put them through after a powerful run down the right flank by Chinedu Obasi is centred and finsihed by Kalu Uche beating Cha Du-Ri, far too easily to the ball. Uche then goes on to smash a ball against the Korean upright, hard.

The Koreans make a break through later but only after Park Ji-Sung has been pulled down near the by-line as he looks to beat goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. The keeper had wandered to the edge of the box and tugged on Ji-Sung getting a yellow card and giving away a free kick but with the Korean facing only a defender on the line and having support it is hard to see how Enyeama has not denied a goalscoring opportunity and he is lucky not to be sent off.

Nevertheless Obasi gives away a free kick in a similar position which Ki Sung-Yong crosses to the sneaking Lee Jung-Soo. The equaliser puts Korea back in the position to progress and they go close to taking the lead when Yeom Ki-Hun hits a low free kick which is claimed by Enyeama.

Park Chu-Young tries his luck with a free kick just after half time and Enyeama shifts to the wrong foot just as he takes it. The ball bounces on the way in – but it goes in and is the first direct free kick to go in this World Cup.

Argentina roll over Greece. Pressure tells even on the strongest defence and Martín Demichelis puts in a rebound from a corner and Martín Palermo scores later after the Europeans go chasing the win. It is the third win of three but there are worries with the Greeks spending most of the game with Argentina stopped dead primarily by Papastathopoulos stopping Messi play.

The single Greek up front Samaras often caused far more problems than he should with Demichelis looking weak and Walter Samuel missed. Three wins are three wins and Argentina are through to a mouthwatering clash with Mexico.

No wins are no wins and at 2-1 down Nigeria were going out. Lars Lagerbäck is not used to pressing sides into attack but his Nigerian charges charge forward and start causing problems with Chinedu Obasi outstanding poking and prodding and then centring beautifully taking out defenders and goalkeeper and sliding into the feet of Yakubu Aiyegbeni some two years out.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni will never sleep again. Every night he will wake thinking of the ball that arrived to him two yards out and he met with the side of his right foot. Every night he will see it obviously going in but amazingly going wide. Never will he sleep.

It is – probably – the worst miss in the history of the World Cup and is even worse because of Kim Nam-Il bringing down Chinedu Obasi and Yakubu Aiyegbeni scoring the resulting penalty. It comes to taunt him for his miss and – had it gone in – it would have put his country into the next round of the World Cup.

Never will he sleep again.

Later Obafemi Martins is played though by Chinedu Obasi but misses with Austin Ejide doing well in goal to force the striker into his miss.

There was a keeper, he will sleep.

South Korea see the game out and claim a second round place and a game with Uruguay. For The South Koreans to reach the last sixteen on foreign soil shows good building by the nation on the boost that came from hosting the World Cup eight years ago. A lesson for the South Africans.

The Greeks go out having defended like Spartans and – like Leonidas – they ended up dead. There showed no enterprise and were fortunate to beat Nigeria who they go out with.

Nigeria are left wondering why Sani Kaita kicked out half way through a Greece match they were coasting and some might ask questions about that in the future but most will talk about Yakubu Aiyegbeni.

That miss will be part of Nigerian history forever.

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