Argentina vs South Korea – Messi needs to open account
Lionel Messi looks primed to make a lasting mark on this World Cup and could well get his first goal of the tournament in Argentina’s match with South Korea, which kicks off at 12.30pm on Thursday.
In his nation’s opening game the world player of the year peppered the Nigeria goal with shots and was desperately unlucky to encounter a goalkeeper in man-of-the-match-winning form. The win cut his team’s odds for top spot to 1/6.
It seems Messi has shrugged off his previously patchy international form and can now reproduce his Barcelona best in South Africa, continuing against Huh Jung-Moo’s side. He is 11/4 to score first.
It was the Asian side’s eighth win in 11 games and their seventh clean sheet in that time. Indeed, they have only conceded twice in six matches.
Argentina’s form is even more impressive though, having won six on the trot and nine of their last 10.
Maradona’s men haven’t conceded in over 400 minutes of action and while this includes matches against Haiti and Canada it also takes in a shut-out against Germany in Munich. Another South American clean sheet is 4/5.
With this in mind, a repeat 1-0 win for Argentina is on the cards. It’s 5/1. Three of their last eight ended this way, while South Korea’s two most recent friendly defeats were 1-0 losses.
That’s not to say it won’t be a game full of attacking football but it seems likely that more chances will be spurned.
Argentina will need to tighten up their right hand side, though. Playing the usual left winger Jonas Gutierrez at right back against Nigeria with only Carlos Tevez for protection was a risky strategy by Diego Maradona.
Expect Park Ji-Sung to take advantage of any such tactical naivety in the same manner he did when scoring his goal against Greece. The Manchester United man is 6/1 to score at any time.