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Fans go wild as Argentina win

Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires to celebrate their team’s 4-1 World Cup victory over South Korea in Johannesburg.


Hundreds of Argentine fans gathered to watch the match on a maxi-screen in the capital’s Plaza San Martin.

Fans celebrated the first two goals with confetti, although there was a nervous moment or two after South Korea found the back of the net.

But Argentina went on to win 4-1, with Gonzalo Higuain scoring a hat-trick.

At the Buenos Aires Obelisk, fans celebrated the victory in the shadow of a giant inflatable bust of national team coach and former World Cup winning captain Diego Maradona.

Argentina now leads Group B with six points from two games, while South Korea, which beat Greece 2-0 in its opening match, has three.

Greece beat Nigeria 2-1 on Thursday to also have three, while the Nigerians are yet to get a point.

Mardadona scathing of South Korea

Argentina coach Diego Maradona was scathing of opponents South Korea after his side’s 4-1 World Cup rout of the Asian nation in Group B.

Maradona’s side are on the verge of a last 16 place after the victory at Johannesburg’s Soccer City as Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat-trick, after South Korean forward Park Chu-Young had earlier scored an own goal.

But when asked whether he felt Argentina had raised their game in the second half after a mistake by defender Martin Demichelis allowed South Korea’s Lee Chung-Yong to score just before half-time, Maradona was not amused.

“Look, let me tell you, South Korea was never capable of controlling us, they never dominated any part of the match,” said Maradona angrily after his side went into the break 2-1 ahead.

“Demichelis may have a problem, may have made a mistake, but it can happen to anyone and on the contrary it made us stronger.

“A team-mate made a mistake, but we played better and won the game.

“Korea were never able to take control and dominate us, maybe you saw a different game or we didn’t watch the same match.”

Argentina are bidding to win their third World Cup title here and Maradona is attempting to emulate Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer by captaining and coaching his country to glory on the global stage.

“We want to go on playing this way, we are on the right path, but we don’t want to think yet about the teams we could face in the next round,” said Maradona.

“We have competition among the players, we have 23 tough guys working on the team, sometimes people feel a slight injury, but they are still all eager to play.

“No one wants to under-perform and there are good vibrations in the side, we felt them in the preparations and we feel them now.”

Midfield maestro Lionel Messi was superb throughout as Argentina raced into a 2-0 first-half lead thanks to a header from Higuain and an own-goal by Korea’s Park Chu-Young.

Argentina went ahead when Monaco forward Park turned a free-kick by Messi into his own net on 17 minutes before Higuain’s header extended the South American giants’ lead with his first goal on 33 minutes.

South Korea’s Lee Chung-Yong gave his side hope with a goal at the end of the first half to make it 2-1, but Messi-inspired Argentina were not to be denied.

Higuain made sure of the win with two goals in four minutes late in the second-half in front of a 82,174-strong crowd at Soccer City.

Having taken over as Argentina coach in October 2008, Maradona has brought his own unique style to the coaching role, but shunned any suggestion he has grown into the role since his first match in charge – a 1-0 win over Scotland in November 2008.

“I don’t know to what extent I have grown as a coach,” he said, before admitting it has been a challenge to gel his team with 90 percent of his squad playing in Europe.

“I have always been there to guide and help the players, but I decided to work for Argentina as a coach.

“During this time I have seen many things and other coaches have not done what I have done.

“I have learned enormously over the last few years and I wanted to bring players along who were really in top shape.

“What we are living through right now is really beautiful, if I have improved as a coach it is up to the players.”

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