PRETORIA, South Africa -- Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron will not play in the team's second World Cup match against South Korea because of an injury and will be replaced by Maxi Rodriguez.
Veron has an injury to his right calf, and coach Diego Maradona doesn't want to risk aggravating the injury in the Group B match Thursday. Maradona said Wednesday that "it was a difficult decision" to leave him out because Veron wanted to play.
Maradona says the veteran midfielder could return for the team's next final group match against Greece on June 22. Maradona says his team is confident and will "play to win" against South Korea.
The first matchup of teams that won their opening games at the World Cup could see one clinch a spot in the second round. If the Koreans or Albiceleste win, and the Greece-Nigeria match ends in a draw, the 2-0 team is headed to the round of 16.
For South Korea to get there, it must stop Lionel Messi, who didn't score in Argentina's 1-0 victory over Nigeria but was masterful controlling the ball and the match.
OFF THE BALL:6/16
South Korea midfielder Park Ji-Sung told Argentine newspaper Clarin this week that his team will be very wary of Messi.
"He's magic," Park said. "Argentina's one of the best teams in the world."
Park promised his team won't be intimidated against the two-time champions, whose coach, Maradona, led them to the 1986 title.
"As the team spirit is in upswing from the victory in the first match, we will face [Argentina] with confidence," Park said. "We believe we can produce good results if we play at the top of our game."
That's likely what it will take at Soccer City.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.