Argentina Match Could Seal Team Korea's Fate

      June 17, 2010 08:47

      Team Korea will take on Argentina in its second Group B match in the World Cup in Johannesburg on Thursday. Right after the game Greece and Nigeria, also in Group B, will play each other in Bloemfontein.

      Both matches are crucial in determining which two teams will be likely to advance to the next round. Korea and Argentina currently have three points each, having won their first matches, but since Korea scored one more goal it is leading the group. Nigeria and Greece have no points as they both lost their previous games.

      There are several possible outcomes from Thursday's games. The best scenario for Korea is a victory over Argentina and a draw between Greece and Nigeria. This would leave Korea with six points, Argentina three, and Nigeria and Greece one each. In this case, regardless of the result of the third match against Nigeria, Korea would advance to the best of 16 stage, in either first or second place in the group.

      Argentina coach Diego Maradona (left) /Reuters-Newsis; Korean national football team coach Huh Jung-moo /Yonhap

      A draw for all four teams would also be positive for Team Korea. It would remain at the top of the group as it has a one goal advantage over Argentina even though both teams would have four points. In this case, a draw against Nigeria would also guarantee a ticket to the next round. However, managing to draw twice in a row against strong teams is a very challenging task both strategically and physically.

      The worst case for Korea would be a loss to Argentina, and Nigeria beating Greece. Although Nigeria fell 0-1 to Argentina, it still put on a strong performance and is considered stronger than Greece, who lost 0-2 to Korea. In this scenario, Argentina would top the group with two wins, regardless of the results of the remaining matches, and Korea and Nigeria, tied at three points with one win and one loss each, would compete for the spot in the next round in the final group match on June 23.

      Lee Yong-soo, a professor at Sejong University and commentator for KBS, said, "It's more likely that the game against Nigeria will be Korea's fateful match, rather than against Argentina."

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