We’re not even one week into this year’s Asian Cup and use of the word “deflection” has tripled. This match was no different. The heavily fancied Koreans did enough to earn all three points off a disappointing Bahrain side.

In what was to be a overall poor performance from both sides it was Park Ji-Sung and the Koreans that started well. The Manchester United player was set up by Lee Chung-Yong but his shot failed to test Mahmood Mansoor. Apart from the early effort Park was not as influential as he would have liked.

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Two of the big guns played today and with mixed results, the big winner today was the Korea’s a great result against Greece, followed by Argentina’s slim 1 -0 victory over Nigeria, in a game that could have been 4-0 or 1-1, then England stepped up and failed to deliver the result their thousands of fans beleived was due to them, drawing 1-1 with the United States

SOUTH KOREA 2 GREECE 0

SOUTH KOREA: 18 Jung Sung-Ryong - 12 Lee Young-Pyo, 4 Cho Yong-Hyung, 14 Lee Jung-Soo, 22 Cha Du-Ri - 19 Yeom Ki-Hun, 17 Lee Chung-Yong, 8 Kim Jung-Woo, 16 Ki Sung-Yong, 7 Park Ji-Sung – 10 Park Cho Young
Subs - 5 Kim Nam-Il on for Ki Sung-Yueng (74mins), 11 Lee Seung-Yeoul on for Park Chu-Young (87mins), 13 Kim Jae-Sung on for Lee Chung-Yong (90+mins)

GREECE: 12 Tzorvas – 2 Seitaridis, 8 Papadopoulos, 6 Tziolis, 15 Torosidis – 11 Vyntra, 21 Katsouranis, 10 Karagounis – 7 Samaras, 9 Charisteas, 17 Gekas
Subs – 4 Patsatzoglou on for Karagounis (46mins), 14 Salpingidis on for Samaras (59mins), 20 Kapetanos on for Charisteas (61mins)

Goals - Lee Jung-Soo 7′ (1-0), Park Ji-Sung 52′ (2-0)

MY THOUGHTS:

An entertaining game to start the day, the impressive Koreans started very brightly, Ki whipped in a good free-kick after 7 minutes that missed everyone apart from the centre back Lee he appeared unmarked at the back post to make it 1-0, then the very busy Park Ji-Sung stole the ball in midfield and ran through to place the ball past Tzorvas and the Koreans held on after a bit of Greek pressure near the end, a great start to their tournament.

The centre backs for Korea Cho and Lee did very well against all the high balls the Greeks threw at them, Right Back Cha was tireless in running down the right flank troubled Torosidis all game until he was replaced, the Koreans controlled the midfield the trio of Park, Ki and Kim ran the show, Ki never lost the ball once, and Park was the spark of class the team needed, Bolton’s Lee was quiet on the wing, one player that was fantastic was Park Cho-Young he worked the Greek centre backs all game was superb in the air, the myth that Koreans are small is gone Ki, Yeom, Kim and Park are all 6 feet tall, and Park played even taller winning nearly every ball in the air.

Really enjoyed the Koreans style of football, nice one touch passing, pace and really just doing the simple things well, ineresting to see how they match up against the Nigerians.

The Greek team will need to step up increidbly fast if they want to progress in this tournament 16 years ago they left USA ’94 without scoring a goal, and you could see it happening again, tough games against Argentina and Nigeria could prove extremly tough, the tactics just didn’t work, 2 big men on the wings and not a lot of pace in midfield, Samaras and Charisteas were awful the game plan seemed to be long balls up to the front men, but I can’t remember them winning one ball, Gekas was a non entity, and Karagounis didn’t show the creativity he is known for.

The only life they showed is when Salpingidis and Patsatzoglou came on and they showed more creatvity down the left and maybe left a little bit of hope for Rehaggel for the next match, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was 3 or 4 changes for their next match, god knows they need it.

ARGENTINA 1 NIGERIA 0

ARGENTINA: 22 Romero – 17 Gutierrez, 2 Demichelis, 13 Samuel, 6 Heinze – 14 Mascherano, 8 Veron, 7 Di Maria – 11 Tevez, 10 Messi, 9 Higuain
Subs – 20 M.Rodriguez on for Veron (74mins), 19 D.Milito on for Higuain (79mins), 4 Burdisso on for Di Maria (85mins)

NIGERIA: 1 Enyeama – 17 Odiah, 2 Yobo, 6 Shittu, 3 Taiwo – 20 Etuhu, 15 Haruna, 14 Kaita, 19 Obasi – 19 Obinna, 8 Yakubu
Subs – 9 Martins on for Obinna (52mins), 11 Odemwingie on for Obasi (60mins), 12 Uche on for Taiwo (75mins)

Goals - Heinze 6′ (1-0)

MY THOUGHTS:

Not the scoreline the Argentines would have hoped for but 3 points is 3 points, this game could easily have been 3 or 4 nil, but as long as the game went on the Nigerians looked just as likely to pull out a equaliser, for Argentina there was some good performances but also signs they are not as strong as the fans would hope, Messi looked in the mood, picking up the ball in space and attacking the Nigerian defence, only 2 great saves from Enyeama stopped him opening his World Cup account, in this form though his time will come.

Mascherano and Veron were superb, controlling the game, breaking up everything that Nigeria tried to create, Veron showing his passing abilities are still at their peak, Di Maria did well when he got the ball but wasn’t used enough, just didn’t seem to get involved enough, Tevez and Messi linked up really well, and created quite a few chances for Higuain who surely on another day he would have put them away.

For as well as Argentinas attacking players played the defence seemed suspect, Gutierrez looks vulnerable his positioning needs to improve, Samuel and Demichelis could be troubled by attackers with pace and purpose, and Romero is yet to be tested.

Nigeria’s best player by far was Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, pulled out about 4 fantastic saves, 2 top notch saves from Lionel Messi, in the first half Nigeria struggled to get going the inexperience of Haruna and Kaita got overrun with Argentinas 4-3-3 and the front 2 of Yakubu and Obinna were isolated, Lagerback made a great decision in the second half bringing on Peter Odemwingie and it changed Nigeria’s play completely adding pace and composure to the attack, after his performance I’m sure he will start the next game, sub Uche had a great chance to equalise but just went over the bar.

Nigeria need to start their next game better if they are going to make the second round, they have the tools to win, it’s just whether they put it together or not.

ENGLAND 1 UNITED STATES 1

ENGLAND: 12 Green – 2 Johnson, 6 Terry, 20 King, 3 A.Cole – 7 Lennon, 8 Lampard, 4 Gerrard – 21 Heskey, 10 Rooney
Subs - 17 Wright-Phillips on for Milner (31mins), 18 Carragher on for King (46mins),  9 Crouch on for Heskey (79mins)

UNITED STATES: 1 Howard – 6 Cherundolo, 5 Onyewu, 15 DeMerit, 3 Bocanegra – 8 Dempsey, 4 Bradley, 13 Clark, 10 Donovan – 20 Findley, 17 Altidore
Subs – 14 Edso Buddle on for Findley (77mins), 11 Holden on for Altidore (86mins)

GoalsGerrard 3′ (1-0 ENG), Dempsey 41′ (1-1 USA)

MY THOUGHTS:

The big game of the day, the two top teams in Group C battling out for the advantage in the group, England of course the favourites couldn’t have started out any better a great move between Rooney, Heskey into the captain Gerrard and he finished calmly past Howard, everyone including myself expected England to charge on after a great start, wasn’t the case though England stood back and let the US come onto them, Milner got caught out on the right a few times by Cherundolo and after receiveng an early yellow, Capello had no choice but to remove him, then the massive moment that changed the game Dempsey hit a speculative shot looked easy for Green to collect but somehow the ball spilled off Green’s arm and into the net.

Gerrard really steppd up for England, playing with the captain’s armband, charging forward at all times Gerrard’s good play seemed to keep Lampard quiet not his best game, surprisingly Emile Heskey was one of the other best players in the game, holding up the ball very well, had a couple of chances that he could have scored but over all he was pretty good, Lennon and Johnson were good down the right, both troubling the American team with their pace, and provided quite a few crosses that could have easily have counted.

Overall I am against all the negativity headed towards the England team, they created quite a few chances if I was an England fan, you’ve got to think on other day it could have been 3 or 4 and if they create the same against Algeria or Slovenia they will have no problems, Green’s place is looking shakey now, and King’s injury will see Upson come in, and maybe also the inclusion of Gareth Barry this might change the side too much, will be interesting come Friday.

The USA played very well at times, started off looking very nervous and the goal would not have helped their nerves, Clark fell asleep for the goal, however he and Bradley managed to play better throughout the game in the middle, Donovan was their best player playing some great balls in the box and creating some chances too, I was surprised that Robbie Findley started up front with Altidore, Buddle was the striker in form but Findley picked for his incredible pace, and at times he troubled the back line and nearly got inbehind a few times.

Cherundolo had a great first half, terrorising Milner till he got booked and had to come off, Wright-Phillips kept him busier in the 2nd half and pinned him back, Jozy Altidore had 2 great chances to score, one from a Donovan cross where he should have done better, only managing to glance a header past the post, then he beat Carragher for pace and only a great save from Rob Green which tipped the ball off the post kept the scores level.

A great point for the US they will fancy themselves to go on and win at least 1 of the other 2 games, and show more attacking prowess, however they will remeber the night they took a point of one of the favourites in Rustenberg.

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