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Argentina 4-1 South Korea

Maradona purrs over four-star Argentina

June 17, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Diego Maradona lavished praise on his players after a potent display of attacking football earned them a 4-1 win over South Korea at Soccer City.

Gonzalo Higuain is the toast of Argentina
GettyImagesGonzalo Higuain is the toast of Argentina
Argentina 4-1 South Korea
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Maradona took a swipe at fellow legends Pele and Michel Platini before the game but offered an apology to the UEFA president for his comments.

And Argentina's coach had good reason to be in jubilant mood after Gonzalo Higuain's hat-trick helped his side take a firm grip on Group B.

"I'd like to commend my players for the job they've done on the pitch,'' Maradona said. "This shows what we have been training for was right. We have discussed certain elements before and they were able to produce that on the pitch. Everything went well.

"Already, we started seeing certain things against Nigeria (1-0 opening win) and today's match was more clear. We showed it also by the score.''

An own goal from Park Chu-young set the two-time champions on their way, before Higuain doubled their advantage. But Lee Chung-yong's effort on the stroke of half-time handed the Koreans brief hope, only for Higuain to grab two late goals to maintain Argentina's 100% record in Group B and all but assure their progress to the last 16.

The only blemish for Argentina was conceding a goal just before the interval after a lapse in concentration by Martin Demichelis. But Maradona said: "Demichelis made a mistake, but I guess the whole team did a top job.

"I have 23 top players in my squad and they're ready to put on the jersey and work on the pitch. We feel great. We are happy and we have peace of mind.''

As for his comments regarding Platini - who reportedly made negative remarks about him - Maradona revealed that he was misinformed after receiving a letter from the French legend which shed more light on the matter. He added: "The other day I spoke about Mr Platini.

"Mr Platini sent me a letter saying that he never said what you (the media) told me he said. So, through you, I would like to apologise to Mr Platini.''

Korean coach Huh Jung-moo felt his side did well to compete and pointed towards a chance early in the second half as the turning point of the game. Yeom Ki-hun should have drawn his side level after 55 minutes but could only find the side-netting.

Huh said: "In the second half, when Argentina were slowing down a little bit, Yeom Ki-hun, if he had made the goal I think we would have managed to change the flow of the game.

"We did manage to control the flow of the game at that stage, but I think that was the decisive turning point. It was a very important juncture for us. I think our players fought very hard, but I think we didn't manage to control the flow of the game, which was quite decisive.

"Nevertheless, I would like to repeat that our players did really well. It's now down to the game against Nigeria to decide our fate.''