Gonzalo Higuain's hat-trick puts Argentina on the verge of Second Round.
Argentina 4-1 South Korea
FIFA World Cup 2010
12.30pm (BST), Thursday 17 June
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Gonzalo Higuain fired a superb hat-trick as Argentina produced a stunning display and cruised to a 4-1 win over South Korea to virtually book their place in the second round of the competition.
Despite facing an uphill struggle to reach the tournament in South Africa, Diego Maradona’s side are showing their true potential at just the right time and look strong favourites to go all the way.
After winning their opening game against Nigeria, Argentina seemed to step up another gear and Higuain stole the show as he became the first player since Portugal’s Pauleto at the 2002 World Cup to score three goals in a game.
With Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez producing another impressive display, few teams will fancy playing the South American side in the latter stages of the competition.
The game never looked in doubt once Argentina opened the scoring after just 16 minutes. It was a moment to forget for South Korea striker Chu Young-Park who deflected Lionel Messi’s free-kick past his own keeper.
Tevez was causing all kinds of problems for the South Korea defence and almost scored one of the goals of the tournament on 28 minutes when he unleashed a fierce 30-yard shot which flew inches over the bar.
Higuain then scored his first goal of the game on 33 minutes when Nicolas Burdisso flicked the ball into the path of the Real Madrid forward and he headed the ball into the corner of the net.
South Korea attempted to make a game of it when they pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time Lee Chung-Yong fired the ball past Sergio Romero.
It was game over for South Korea when Higuain made it 3-1 on 76 minutes though. Messi saw his shot come back off the post and the rebound fell perfectly for the Argentina striker who knocked the ball home from close-range.
The goal of the tournament so far then came on 80 minutes when Higuain completed his hat-trick.
The outstanding Messi played a memorable chip into the path of Sergio Aguero who then showed his own class by delivering a superb cross to Higuain who headed the ball home to make it a day to remember for the Argentina team.
22 Romero, 2 Demichelis, 6 Heinze, 13 Samuel (Burdisso, 23), 7 Di Maria, 14 Mascherano (C), 17 Gutierrez, 20 Maxi, 9 Higuain (Bolatti, 82), 10 Messi 11 Tevez (Aguero, 75)
Goals: Park Chu-Young (og 16), Higuain, 33, 76, 80
18 Jung Sung-Ryong, 2 Oh Beom Seok, 4 Cho Yong-Hyung, 12 Lee Young-Pyo, 14 Lee Jung-Soo, 7 Park Ji-Sung Captain, 8 Kim Jung-Woo, 16 Ki Sung-Yeung (Kim Nam-Il, 46), 17 Lee Chung-Yong, 10 Park Chu-Young (Lee Dong-Gook, 81), 19 Yeom Ki-Hun
Goal Lee Chung-Yong, 45+1
F De Bleeckere