The preliminaries…

South Korea 2, Greece 0

Going into this match, I fully expected the Greeks to beat South Korea. They’d displayed a simply paralytic defense during qualification, if not exactly a potent offense. As we’ve seen during the first two games, oftentimes, that’s all you need. 

As for Korea, this isn’t the team that I saw go all the way to the World Cup semifinals eight years ago. While they still have the panache, it’s clear that they’ve lost a step. I fully expected them to go three and out, much as they did in France in 1998.

Well, it was clear until they played Greece.

I’m going to be brutally honest: Greece played like utter crap. Korea scored twice in this match, but the final tally really should’ve been more like 4-0 or 5-0. This is the kind of game that Korea needed to get off to a flying start in this World Cup. I’d tapped Greece as a dark horse, but based on their performance today, I’m switching that to Korea.

Argentina 1, Nigeria 0

Irreversible fatigue”.

Those are two words that will continue to haunt Lionel Messi, until he has a breakout game playing for Argentina.

The final score doesn’t reflect how dominant Argentina were in this game. And Messi tried to have that breakout game – I lost track of how many missed chances he had to bury the ball in the back of the net.

It wasn’t just the fatigue, though. You have to give credit to Nigeria’s keeper, Victor Enyeama, who singlehandedly kept Nigeria in the game and made it possible for the Super Eagles to make it slightly interesting as they counter-attacked at the tail end of the match. For the first time in this Cup, I felt that the man of the match was on the losing team. I’m with the folks at the 2010 World Cup Tumblr (which you should really be reading): if Nigeria gets this kind of effort from Enyeama, they’ll be in the knock-out stage.

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