Full-time - 90'
4 - 1
11:30 +00:00, June 17, 2010
FNB Stadium, South Africa
Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)
Argentina 4-1 South Korea. Read our report here
But Argentina were awesome and have stolen the show with a dazzling attacking show. They win 4-1.
But South Korea already have 3 points on the board and may well be playing off with Nigeria for second place in this group, depending on Nigeria's result with Greece today.
As for South Korea, they never really imposed themselves on the game after a strong start. Park Ji-Sung didn't get into the game enough and Korea failed to expose an Argentina defence which still looks vulnerable to conceding goals to better teams.
But Higuain will take the plaudits. He took his three goals well and becomes the tournament's leading goalscorer.
And that's the last action of the game! Argentina have sent out a real message to their rivals with this performance. A hat-trick for Higuain masks some wonderful performances by Tevez, Mascherano and, of course, Messi.
Aguero almost makes it five! He ducks and weaves his way past Lee Young-Pyo before sending a shot towards the far top corner, which flies just wide.
Park Ji-Sung gets a sight of goal but rather swings his left leg at the ball and Romero gathers with relative ease.
South Korea continue to try and are still passing around Argentina, but with little penetration.
You get that feeling Argentina are going to score every time they go forward. Messi is a constant menace.
Aguero bursts into the South Korea box and seems to be clear for a second, but some desperate late defending by Cho Yong-Hyung keeps the Atletico Madrid man at bay.
Higuain is withdrawn by Maradona to a standing ovation. Excellent finishing from the Real Madrid man today.
SUB: Bolatti for Higuain (Argentina)
Argentina have really turned on the style today. Their attacking play has been as good as we've seen at this tournament so far. Wonderful to watch.
ESPN Stats & Info: This is the first hat-trick in the World Cup since Pauleta scored three for Portugal in 2002 against Poland. It's Argentina's first hat-trick since Gabriel Batistuta versus Jamaica in 1998.
GOAL: Silky football from Argentina! It's a hat-trick for Higuain after a stunning build-up. Argentina breakaway with pace and poise; Messi finds Aguero on the left who lifts the ball beautifully onto the head of Higuain who scores his third and Argetina's fourth. Best goal of the tournament for me.
Comment from John Brewin at Soccer City: Messi magic. He really enjoyed himself there after setting up that goal. Higuain seems to have done little more than score two easy goals. Diego Milito fumes somewhere below.
Diego Maradona directs his team.
SUB: Aguero for Tevez
GOAL! Higuain seals it for Argentina You-know-who (yes, Lionel Messi) was at the heart of another crisp Argentina move. After his first shot was saved, his second, a shot from a narrow angle on the left, hits the near post and falls at the feet of Higuain who can't miss.
YELLOW CARD: Heinze (Argentina). Heinze is booked for an absolutely blatent handball. But he still has the audacity to challenge the referee over it.
Nice build-up again by South Korea. The ball is half cleared and the substitute, Kim Nam-Il, drives it from the edge of the box. But his low shot is wide of the left post.
The game has entered a period of realisation that the next goal, whoever it goes to, is crucial.
South Korea have a great chance to break after Tevez's claims for a free kick fall on deaf ears. But Kim Jung-Woo's throughball was the pass of a tired man, and the move dissolves.
Would have been a travesty if that had led to a goal.
But he fools the referee into awarding a free kick. I can't believe the ref has fallen for that example of simulation. Messi chips the resulting free kick into the box and neither Higuain or Tevez can make contact and Jung Sung-Ryong gathers.
Heinze is clearly auditioning for the Argentina high jump team for the next Olympics. Worst dive of the tournament so far.
Comment from John Brewin at Soccer City: More like the first half. Maradona just controlled the ball on the touchline and considered juggling it. Then he remembered where he was and what he was supposed to be doing.
South Korea celebrate after getting back into the game.
This is one of the games of the tournament so far. Breathtaking stuff at Soccer City.
Great chance for South Korea! Yeom Ki-Hun is put clean through and should scored! With the goal at his mercy he somehow fashions a shot wide. Yeom Ki-Hun may well come to regreat that miss. Golden opportunity.
That was late by Mascherano and deserving of a booking. We've seen him tackle like that before.
YELLOW CARD: Mascherano (Argentina)
Mascherano is penalised for a late tackle on Lee Chung-Yong in a dangerous area 25 yards from goal.
Silly booking for Gutierrez, who is booked for kicking the ball away. Misses the next game. Silly boy.
YELLOW CARD: Gutierrez (Argentina)
Tevez cuts in from the left and makes Jung Sung-Ryong work again with a right footed shot.
He has 130, in case you're wondering.
Great save by Jung Sung-Ryong! Higuain should really have scored his second after being set up by Di Maria - but you can't deny the quality of the save by Jung Sung-Ryong, the most capped player on the pitch.
Argentina just look so menacing going forward. Tevez, Higuain and Messi are linking really well every time they get forward.
Lee Chung-Yong did so well to keep the ball after being hunted down in midfield by a pack of Argentines. After about 3 consecutive dragbacks, he ran out of luck.
ESPN Stats & Info: Argentina have won 24 of 25 World Cup games when leading at half-time.
Higuain sets up Messi who fails to get a shot away from 12 yards. Is he determined NOT to score for Argentina?
SUB: Kim Nam-Il for Ki Sung-Yeung (South Korea)
Gonzalo Higuain heads towards goal for number two.
Gonzalo Higuain celebrates his goal.
Comment from John Brewin at Soccer City: Horror show from Demichelis. A rocket could well be aimed in his direction by his demi-god boss. Bet he's sorry that happened before half-time.
That can only go down as a complete gaff by Argentina defender, Demichelis. South Korea go into the dressing room with renewed hope of getting something from this game after being outplayed for large periods of it.
And that's the last action of the first half!
Completely against the run of play, that.
GOAL! South Korea have snatched a goal. Route one stuff as Park wins a long ball and Demichelis, rather than hoofing into Row Z, dithers and is dispossessed by Lee Chung-Yong who taps it beyond the keeper.
Beautiful, beautiful football by Messi. Dropping deep to collect the ball from Higuain, Messi surges forward and exchanges passes with Tevez. On the edge of the box he skips beyond a couple of challenges before unleashing a delicate chip that just goes wide. That deserved a goal.
Messi races back some 50 yards to dispossess Park Ji-Sung, before setting up Tevez with a chance to break down the left. But Tevez loses control of the ball and concedes a free kick.
ESPN Stats & Info: Argentina have won every single World Cup game when going into a two-goal lead.
Great chance for Argentina! The ball drops to Di Maria in the box and he swings his left foot at it with great technique. The ball was dipping under the crossbar but Jung Sung-Ryong gets a crucial hand to it. That was nice.
South Korea attempt a sustained period of possession but they look to have had the stuffing knocked out of them right now.
Argentina celebrate Park Chu-Young's own goal.
South Korea could do with a goal before half time. Argentina have knocked the ball around with purpose but 2-0 is slightly flattering.
Lee Chung-Yong is penalised for a late tackle on Maxi. Again, no complaints there.
YELLOW CARD: Lee Chung-Yong (South Korea)
GOAL! It's 2-0 to Argentina and they are in complete control here. Higuain is the scorer after nodding home Maxi's cross from the left after it was flicked on.
Oh Beom Seok and Kim Jung-Woo combine to foul Tevez in dangerous position down the left. Fre kick...
ESPN Stats & Info: That was the second own goal in South Korean World Cup history (Cho Kwang Rae vs. Italy, 1982) and the first time Argentina have received benefit from an own goal in 67 World Cup matches.
Comment from John Brewin at Soccer City: Maradona is prowling the sideline in a well-filled suit. Now he's doing some wild hand gestures. He's been a pleasure to watch.
Korea's midfielder Kim Jung-Woo (right) fights for the ball with Argentina's striker Lionel Messi.
Chance for Argentina! Messi lays it off and Tevez fires it with real venom but it flies just over. That couldn't have been more than an inch or 2 over the bar.
Cho Yong-Hyung chops down Messi and Argentina have a free kick...
Di Maria gets away with a blatent handball. Maradona's influence is clearly having an effect on the Real Madrid target.
Tevez does well to squeeze in a cross from the right under pressure from Lee Young-Pyo and Lee Jung-Soo and Higuain, sensing Hollywood, tries a spectacular overhead kick. It wasn't spectacular when he missed the ball.
Maradona is forced into an early defensive change. Samuel is hobbling off.
SUB: Burdisso for Samuel.
The pace of the game still has that laboured, early kick off feel to it. Despite the goal.
Comment from John Brewin at Soccer City: The Argie fans bounce up and down and sing a song that my Argentine friends me translates as: "If you don't stand up, you're an Englishman." I am rooted to my seat.
ESPN Stats & Info: The 2010 World Cup tournament so far has had the second-lowest crossing accuracy percentage from open play since records began in 1966.
Great effort for South Korea! Ki Sung-Yeung comes close to an immediate reply for Korea with a thunderbolt from all of 30 yards. The ball just flies over.
Comment from John Brewin at Soccer City: Well, Messi was instrumental there but you have to put that down to bad luck. Park had the lazy expression of a man who had left the gas on.
That was unlucky on Korea.
GOAL! Argentina have taken the lead. It's an own goal for the unfortunate Park Chu-Young, who misread Messi's cross from the free kick from the left, and it simply bounced off his shin and into his own net.
But Argentina have a free kick. Messi is over it...
To be fair to South Korea they've acquitted themselves pretty well so far. Defending a high line and keeping possession for long periods.
Argentina counter attack after a decent spell of South Korea pressure but Messi is muscled out of it by Cho Yong-Hyung.
Heinze is roaring like a lion at the assistant referee for not being awarded a throw-in.
Maxi, incidentally, has come in for the injured Veron.
At the other end, Maxi is penalised for a foul on Lee Young-Pyo.
Early booking for Yeom Ki-Hun. He rugby tackled Messi as Argentina were breaking and he can have no complaints with that.
YELLOW CARD: Yeom Ki-Hun (South Korea)
Messi wins the ball for Argentina and the ball finds its way out to Higuain in an attacking position on the right. He blazes over from just inside the box when he would have liked to work the keeper, Jung Sung-Ryong, there.
Well, if the remaining 84 minutes are anything like the first 6, then Korea are in for a long afternoon. Struggling to get hold of the ball in the early stages.
Comment from John Brewin at Soccer City: Neat and tidy from Argentina. Korea yet to get a foothold but I am looking forward to Martin Palermo as a barnstorming sub when all else goes wrong.
Di Maria is fed into some space on the left by Tevez but the Benfica player is squeezed out as he tries to put in a cross.
The early pressure is coming from Argentina. South Korea already have every player behind the ball.
Messi forces a corner within a minute for Argentina...
Argentina, shooting from right to left, get us underway. South Korea play in red.
The national anthems have been sung and hands have been shaken; we are moments from kick off in the South African capital...
Not bad. But their star man Lionel Messi has been found wanting in Argentina's colours recently, having scored just once in his last 10 internationals.
They have won their last six international matches, have not conceded in four and are unbeaten in seven straight World Cup games.
As the players emerge onto a sun-drenched pitch at Soccer City in Johannesburg, let me fill you in on some vital Argentina info...
Comment from ESPN Soccernet Editor John Brewin, at Soccer City: A dull drone of you-know-whats and a by-no-means full Soccer City greet an encounter set to be played in winter sun. Blue and white dominate the stands though the Koreans' high-pitched yells can be heard.
ESPN Stats & Info: Argentina have won both of their encounters against South Korea, including a 3-1 victory during the 1986 World Cup first round.
This potentially pivotal Group B clash sees group favourites Argentina face a South Korea side unbeaten in their last 19 competitive matches.
Hello again ladies and gents. Another packed day of football action is upon us, with Argentina and South Korea kicking things off in Johannesburg in little over 10 minutes.
Make sure you join us at 1130 GMT to see Maradona's men in action against South Korea. Could be the battle for top spot in Group B.
Andrew Warshaw was at Diego Maradona's press conference and it makes interesting reading.
Ángel Di María
Juan Sebastián Verón