• FT



    South Africa


  • FT





  • FT





  • FT



    South Korea



Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane, South Africa

Referee: Ravshan Irmatov | Attendance: 38891

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 2



  • Martín Demichelis 77'
  • Martín Palermo 89'

Greece 0-2 Argentina: Maradona in top spot

Defender Martin Demichelis and substitute Martin Palermo succeeded where Argentina's multi-talented strikeforce had failed as they scored the goals to break Greece's resilience and end their World Cup hopes at the Peter Mokaba

Stadium in Polokwane.

• Maradona wants an apology

• Photo Gallery "Photo

Demichelis fired home from close range in the 77th

minute after his header from Lionel Messi's corner bounced back off team-mate

Diego Milito. Palermo tapped in the rebound from Messi's shot to

complete the victory a minute from time.

It sent Argentina into the knockout phase to face Mexico full of confidence on

the back of three successive wins as Greece's best defensive efforts ultimately

proved to be in vain. South Korea's 2-2 draw with Nigeria put them through as Group B runners-up.

For long periods Diego Maradona's side were frustrated by Greece, for whom

defending is what they do best - having used the tactic to become surprise

European champions in 2004.

However, what Otto Rehhagel's side desperately needed more than anything was a

goal and despite the unstinting efforts of Celtic striker Georgios Samaras - who

at times appeared to be the one in a 10-1 formation - they just did not threaten


Argentina, by contrast, did not really need to exert themselves as they were

virtually guaranteed to progress as group winners before the match kicked off. Messi captained the side after Maradona made seven changes from victory over

South Korea but found himself closely marked throughout.

Sergio Aguero's first sight of goal saw the busy Alexandros Tzorvas palm his

shot away for a corner in the 18th minute and the goalkeeper then immediately

had to tip over Juan Sebastian Veron's 30-yard strike.

Tzorvas almost undid all Greece's hard work when he spilled Diego Milito's low

cross into the path of Aguero but Loukas Vyntra charged down his shot at the far


But he redeemed himself in first-half added time when he saved from Maxi Rodriguez and Messi in quick succession.

Three minutes into the second half Greece almost snatched the lead when Samaras

beat Demichelis to another long ball out of defence and raced into the penalty

area but drove wide of far post with his left foot - Greece's first shot of the


But injuries were not kind to Rehhagel's side as they lost Georgios Karagounis,

Konstantinos Katsouranis and Vasileios Torosidis all within 10 minutes of the


Argentina pressed on regardless with Milito inches from heading in a cross from

left-back Clemente Rodriguez, who himself hit a dipping shot just wide.

In the 68th minute Messi's long-range free-kick brought another save out of

Tzorvas and from the resulting corner the ball dropped to defensive midfielder

Mario Bolatti but he shot straight at the goalkeeper from six yards.

It was 24 years to the day since Maradona scored his infamous Hand of God goal

against England in the quarter-finals of 1986 Mexico World Cup - Argentina's

last triumph at this tournament - and the frustrated players might have felt

like indulging in similar skulduggery themselves.

But Demichelis saved anyone the embarrassment by drilling into the roof of the

net with 13 minutes to go.

Things opened up after that and Messi smashed a left-footed shot off the post

having weaved his way into the penalty area.

His next effort was more productive as Tzorvas parried his strike into the path

of the 36-year-old Palermo who took full advantage.

Scoring Summary

  • Greece
  • Argentina

Match Stats

  • Greece
  • Argentina
7(3) Shots (on goal) 22(12)
15 Fouls 8
1 Corner kicks 10
0 Offsides 2
33% Time of Possession 67%
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
9 Saves 0


  • Greece
  • Argentina
Yellow Cards