June 17, 2010 was marked on our calendars for a while by now, it was the day that we were going to watch Argentina play South Korea. Out of the 4 of us, no one was a real Argentina fan but it was the day we were going to see Messi live in action. I’m a die hard Brazil & Real Madrid fan, no compromising on either. Messi being an Argentine that plays for Barcelona makes him public enemy number one in my books, but putting all my biased aside, the man is a footballing genius, it is a treat to watch him do his thing. What made this day extra special is that not only do we get to watch arguably the best player of his generation but we also get to see the legend: Maradona. Maradona was the national team’s coach for the world cup so it was very interesting to see the most loved man in Argentina with whom many claim to be his heir to the crown.
OK back to the game, so coming into the match you know there are 2 people that everyone is here to see: Messi & Maradona. Its a reoccurring theme that you can not avoid to notice. The picture below was Maradona’s first steps onto the field, he came on with his track suit to inspect the pitch and check up on his team. I don’t know if its just me, but it almost looked as if he was reliving his glory days of the past, his held was held high he kept on looking at the stands as if to say: “Back in my days, I used to own all of this, they use to stand and applaud me”. Its probably just me but it was quite something to see the man that dominated the 1986 World cup in person, truth be told is that no one player has dominated a single tournament the way Maradona did in 1986. That same player that we watched as children some 24 years ago was now walking the field in front of me. Life is funny that way.
Oh yeah back to the match…. Messi was a genius, he put on a show that we enjoyed very much. No player moves with the ball like him, nobody cuts and zips through other players like him, you always think to yourself, that short guy is really good. That short guy is #10, Señor Messi!! Argentina had control of the match right from the get go and they were up 2-0 by the 33rd minute, an own goal in the 17th minute with a goal fro Higuain. The game looked sealed for the Argentinian team and they let their guard down, the intensity stepped slightly down and in extra time Korea managed to get a scrappy goal and make it 2-1 at Half time. We have a game.
At half time, it appears that Maradona gave a really inspirational speech. The team came out blazing and completely ran wild over the South Koreans, Argentina scored 2 more goals by Higuain to finish off with a hat rick! BTW, Higuain plays for Real Madrid so seeing him bag 3 was quite a pleasant treat for me, enjoyed it very much.
Final Score was 4-1 but the match could’ve easily ended up as 5-1 or 6-1. Messi & Aguerro missed some really clear cut chances. The Albesciete (Argentinian football team) faithful left the stadium in a very cheerful mood, after that performance they were becoming one of the clear favorites of the tournament. They were ultimately eliminated at the quarterfinals by a masterful performance by the Germans.