Now comes the hard part: Argentina
Korea will attempt to carry the positive momentum of their win against Greece into its second Group B match tonight starting at 8:30 p.m. in Johannesburg. By far the toughest of Korea’s three group matches, it will be a tough test for manager Huh Jung-moo and his men.
“There is a definite drop-off in talent level when comparing Argentina to Korea. But football is a team sport,” said Huh. “We cannot focus on the outcome of the match. I told my men to try their best without obsessing over the outcome and maybe it will lead to a result better than we expected.”
Korea has failed to win a match in their three past World Cup matches against South American teams, posting two losses and one draw against the likes of Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia in the past.
Led by 22-year-old FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi, Argentina boasts one of the top offenses. Messi will be eager to add some spark to his team’s offense after Argentina was stymied by Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and held to a goal in their previous match. Park Ji-sung and his mates will have to be at the top of their game on both offense and defense.
“If we defend well, we will see plenty of opportunities,” said Huh. “Argentina has an explosive player in Lionel Messi. But that does not mean Argentina is invincible.”
Park and Messi played against each other three times in the UEFA Champions League for their respective professional clubs and hold an even record of a win, draw and a loss. Park proved in Mancester United’s win over Barcelona FC at the 2008 UEFA Champions League semi-finals that he is capable of containing Messi.
With the big buildup to tonight’s game, police are estimating very large turnouts around the country, with roughly two million fans expected to gather in 339 public viewing locales around the country. Mega-scale screens set up near Seoul Plaza, COEX and Banpo Han River are expected draw huge crowds in Seoul.
By Jason Kim [email@example.com]