Now comes the hard part: Argentina

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Now comes the hard part: Argentina


Park Ji-sung of South Korea / Lionel Messi of Argentina

After the Korea team’s convincing win against Greece, the eyes of the nation will be glued to video screens - both private and public - in the hope that the Taegeuk Warriors can pull off a monumental upset against Argentina tonight.

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 []
Related Korean Article

마라도나 한국전 전략

한국을 상대로 화끈한 골 세례를 호언장담하던 디에고 마라도나 감독이 경기가 다가올수록 조심스러워하고 있다. 한국의 전력이 예상 외로 탄탄한 데다 공격의 출발점인 후안 세바스티안 베론(35·에스투디안테스)이 부상으로 빠졌고, 수비가 여전히 불안하기 때문이다.

마라도나 감독은 16일(한국시간) 프리토리아 로프투스 페르스펠트 스타디움에서 열린 기자회견에서 한국에 대한 경계를 늦추지 않았다. 그는 “한국에 바보처럼 공을 양보해서는 안 된다”며 “한국은 빠르고 볼에 대한 집착이 강해 역습 기회를 줘서는 안 된다”고 말했다. 이어 “한국에 메시에 버금가는 선수는 없지만 하나의 팀으로 빠르게 움직인다. 모든 경기가 마찬가지지만 한국전 승리 가능성은 50대50”이라고 덧붙였다. 마라도나 감독은 13일 나이지리아와의 첫 경기를 마친 후 “오늘 놓친 골 찬스는 한국과의 경기에 대비해 저축해 놓은 것이라 생각하겠다”며 한국전 골 폭격을 자신했었다.

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