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Photostream : England supporters wear masks resembling Cameron, Obama, Mandela and Capello

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RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 12: England supporters wear masks resembling Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

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RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 12: England supporters wear masks resembling Prime Minister David Cameron, England manager Fabio Capello and US President Barack Obama prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

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RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 12: England supporters wear masks resembling Prime Minister David Cameron, Nelson Mandela and US President Barack Obama prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

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United star gets South Korea going with a win

South Korea's Ji-Sung Park (left) scores his sides second goal of the game against Greece

 

South Korea’s Ji-Sung Park (left) scores his sides second goal of the game against Greece

Times Online

June 13, 2010

SOUTH KOREA, who previously had won just a single World Cup finals game away from home, this time romped through in a canter. Their two goals could have been doubled or even trebled and it was highly appropriate that the second of them, early in the second half, should go to the Manchester United attacker, Park Ji-Sung.

Nominally playing on the far left, he popped up wherever he pleased, always quick, intelligent and splendidly elusive. His goal, however, had all too much to do with the ineptitude of the Greek centre-back Loukas Vintra who clumsily failed to clear an easy enough ball, enabling Park to dance through and easily beat the Greek keeper Alexandros Tzorvas low into the right-hand corner.

The Greece coach, Otto Rehhagel, said on qualifying: “This time, we’ve climbed the mountain and we can be proud.” But after this result they may be said to have plunged down a crevasse.

It was in 2004 that Greece so surprisingly won the European Championships in Portugal. The big striker, Angelos Charisteas, who scored in the 2004 final, played yesterday, one of four survivors. But the three-man attack had little impact on the South Korean defence. Indeed, we had to wait until the 80th minute before another of the Greek strikers, Theofanis Gekas, brought the South Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong into action with a hooked left-footed shot that Jung turned over the top. Gekas was the most prolific scorer in the European qualifiers with 10 goals. You could hardly blame him yesterday for the general ineptitude of his team’s attack; he did what he could, but there was pitifully little coming to him from the flanks or from behind.

The Greek tactics were hard to understand, though their 4-3-3 formation had worked well in the past and was good enough to beat Ukraine in a playoff to reach South Africa. Their decisive goal that night was scored by Dimitrios Salpingidis, though yesterday he started on the bench and came on for the generally ineffective Celtic striker Georgios Samaras after 58 minutes.

Given the expensive and embarrassingly error by Vintra it was hard not to wonder what the Liverpool centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos might have done much more effectively in his place.

The whole South Korean team were far more flexible, quick and enterprising than their opponents. Especially effective was the dynamic overlapping of Cha Du-Ri, the right-back. He is the son of the first major star his country produced, the winger Cha Bum-Kun, who flourished years ago in the German Bundesliga. On 63 minutes, an especially effective piece of attacking by Cha was crowned with a cross that gave Park Chu-Yung an excellent opportunity but he headed the ball wide.

The first South Korean goal came after just seven minutes. A free kick from the left brushed the hapless head of Greece’s Kostas Katsouranis, enabling the South Korean centre-back Lee Jung-Soo to drive the ball home.

Seven minutes later Lee Chung-Yong felt, with perhaps some justification, that he had been fouled in the box, but no penalty was given by the New Zealand referee Michael Hester. South Korea kept up the pressure and on 25 minutes looked unlucky not at least to have been given the opportunity to score. Park Ji-Sung cut in, this time from the right, and appeared to have an excellent opportunity to shoot, only for the referee mysteriously to give a free kick against him.

The supposedly solid Greek defence was frequently found wanting. When Park Ji-Sung sent Park Chu-Young through, a very late desperate lunge by Vintra gave a slight deflection to the ball, enabling Tzorvas to save athletically.

Just before half-time sudden and unexpected confusion on the part of the Korean goalkeeper Jung gave Gekas a chance, but he couldn’t make full contact.

Rehhagel tried to ring the changes in the second half and there was fractional improvement in what had been a plodding performance, but overall, the South Koreans were vigorously dominant.

Star man: Park Ji-Sung (South Korea) Yellow card: Greece: Torosidis Referee: M Hester (New Zealand) Attendance: 31,513 South Korea: Jung Sung-Ryong (Seongham) 6, Cha Du-Ri (Freiburg) 7, Cho Yong-Hyung (Jeju) 6, Lee Jung-Soo (Kashima Antlers) 7, Lee Young-Pyo (Al Hilal) 6, Lee Chung-Yong (Bolton) 7 (Kim Jae-Sung (Pohang) 90min), Ki Sung-Yong (Celtic) 6, Kim Jung-Woo (Gwangju) 6, Park Ji-Sung (Man Utd) 8, Park Chu-Young (Monaco) 7 (Lee Seung-Youl (Seoul) 88min), Yeom Ki-Hun (Suwon) 6 Greece: Tzorvas (Panathinaikos) 6, Torosidis (Olympiakos) 6, Papadopoulos (Olympiakos) 6, Vintra (Panathinaikos) 5, Seitaridis (Panathinaikos) 6, Samaras (Celtic) 5 (Salpingidis (Panathinaikos) 58min, 6), Tziolis (Siena) 6, Katsouranis (Panathinaikos) 5, Karagounis (Panathinaikos) 5 (Patsatzoglou (Omonia) h-t, 6), Charisteas (Nuremburg) 5 (Kapetanos (Steaua Bucharest 60min, 6), Gekas (Eintracht Frankfurt) 6

Asia’s best

South Korea got their World Cup off to a winning start against Greece yesterday to emphasise their position as Asia’s most successful country in the competition. Ranked 47th in the world — 35 places below the Greeks — they finished in fourth place when they shared the finals with Japan in 2002. It was that performance which alerted the top European leagues to their players, Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung being their most famous export. The Koreans first qualified for the finals in 1954 and have competed at every tournament since 1986. They will want to avoid a repeat of the 2006 finals in Germany when they also won their opening game, against Togo, but were eliminated after taking a single point from their final two games.

Diego Maradona Steals The Limelight

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June 13, 2010

(KOMPAS.COM)  Diego Maradona chided his Argentina players for wasting too many chances in their opening win against Nigeria at the World Cup, Saturday, saying they need to score more goals in future games. Maradona said it seemed like his players “couldn’t see the goal” and were too forgiving as they squandered numerous scoring opportunities in their 1-0 victory.

“We should not forgive, that’s what I told them after the match,” a relaxed Maradona said. “In football, to forgive is to pay.”

Maradona also praised Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who made spectacular saves against Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain to keep the Africans in the game.

“Today we took a very important step but we have to improve many things to reach the seventh match,” Maradona said in reference to the tournament final. “Still, the boys did well.” Making his World Cup coaching debut, Maradona said everything would be fine if the missed opportunities meant Argentina was saving some goals for Thursday’s encounter with South Korea. “Goals aren’t missed on purpose,” Maradona said. “Winning has given us a certain calm for the next match.”

Before the game, Maradona seemed not to have a care in the world. As Ellis Park was filling up with thousands of Argentine fans, he walked around the edge of the pitch calling out to apparent acquaintances in the stands, listened to the crowd serenading their hero and allowed himself to be followed around by dozens of photographers taking pictures of him dressed in warmups.

During the game, after putting on a suit and tie before sitting on the Argentina bench, Maradona did not seem all that different from other coaches, trying to make his players move into position and giving instructions to substitutes about to enter the game.

But his reaction to the final whistle from German referee Wolfgang Stark was telling Maradona began hugging and patting the backs of his assistants, the substitutes on the bench and the players coming off the field as if Argentina had just won the final, not the first game of the group phase.

Maradona was especially outgoing with Messi, giving him a bear hug and lifting him off the ground in celebration. “I want Messi always close to the ball and he was,” Maradona said. “He did terrific things today.”

Photostream : World Cup Day One Photos

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Performers attend the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony before the first match between South Africa and Mexico in Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010.

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(From L) FIFA President Sepp Blatter and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma shake hands prior the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match South Africa and Mexico on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg.

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma are seen before the first 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico played in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

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The Mexican, right, and South African teams line up behind FIFA president Sepp Blatter, center left, and South African President Jacob Zuma, center right, prior to the kick-off of the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010.

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(From L) Mexican President Felipe Calderon, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma and FIFA 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee’s chairman Irvin Khoza listen to national anthems prior to the kick-off of the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match South Africa vs. Mexico on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu celebrates in front of President Jacob Zuma (L) and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon after South Africa’s first goal during the 2010 World Cup opening match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010.

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Katlego Mphela of South Africa tries to block the cross by Ricardo Osorio of Mexico during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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South Africa’s midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala celebrates after scoring a goal against Mexico during their 2010 World Cup group A first round football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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South Africa’s midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala celebrates after scoring the opening goal of their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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South Africa’s striker Katlego Mphela (L) and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi (R) celebrate after midfielder teammate Siphiwe Tshabalala (C) scored the opening goal during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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Mexico’s players celebrate after defender Rafael Marquez scored a goal during their 2010 World Cup group A first round football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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Mexico’s goalkeeper Oscar Perez fails to catch a shot by South Africa’s midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala (unseen) during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africa leads 1-0.

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Mexico’s goalkeeper Oscar Perez (C) saves the ball with as Mexico’s defender Rafael Marquez (3rd R), South Africa’s striker Katlego Mphela (2nd R), and Mexico’s defender Francisco Rodriguez (R) look on during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Katlego Mphela of South Africa shoots under the challenge of Francisco Rodriguez of Mexico past goalkeeper Oscar Perez, but the shot hits the post during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: World Cup mascot Zakumi arrives to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between Uruguay and France at Green Point Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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(Top Row L to R) France’s defender Eric Abidal, France’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, France’s midfielder Abou Diaby, France’s defender William Gallas and France’s striker Nicolas Anelka and (bottom row, L to R) France’s striker Sidney Govou, France’s striker Franck Ribery, France’s defender Bakary Sagna, France’s defender Patrice Evra, France’s midfielder Yoann Gourcuff and France’s midfielder Jeremy Toulalan pose before their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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(From L, top) Uruguay’s goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, striker Diego Forlan , defender Diego Lugano, defender Mauricio Victorino, defender Diego Godin, (bottom row) midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez, defender Maximiliano Pereira, striker Luis Suarez, midfielder Alvaro Pereira, midfielder Diego Perez and midfielder Egidio Arevalo pose prior the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match Uruguay vs France on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

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Uruguayan Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi (R) and French Ambassador Jean Christophe Potton exchange national football team jerseys before watching the Uruguay vs France FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 football match on the television at the Uruguayan French School in Montevideo on June 11, 2010.

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Thierry Henry of France takes a shot on goal which is blocked by Mauricio Victorino of Uruguay during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between Uruguay and France at Green Point Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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France’s striker Nicolas Anelka (2ndL) salutes France’s striker Thierry Henry as he leaves the pitch during the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match Uruguay vs. France on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Thierry Henry and Franck Ribery of France stand over the ball during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between Uruguay and France at Green Point Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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(From L) France’s defender Bakary Sagna, striker Nicolas Anelka and midfielder Abou Diaby pose prior the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match Uruguay vs France on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

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Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura (L) holds up a red card for Uruguay’s midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro (unseen) as France’s striker Sidney Govou (R) adjusts his sock during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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Uruguay’s defender Diego Lugano (L) reacts as Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura (R) gives a yellow card to his teammate during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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Uruguay’s Diego Lugano, center, and France’s Jeremy Toulalan, second from right, argue as referee Yuichi Nishimura of Japan, second from left, and France’s Sidney Govou, right, intervene during the World Cup group A soccer match between Uruguay and France in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday, June 11, 2010.

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A fan of France’s national team cheers ahead of the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match between France and Uruguay at Green Point stadium in Capetown June 11, 2010.

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Fans of the French (top) and South African national teams cheer ahead of the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match between France and Uruguay at Green Point stadium in Capetown June 11, 2010.

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Spouses of France’s national soccer team players attend the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match between France and Uruguay at Green Point stadium in Capetown June 11, 2010.

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Uruguay’s midfielder Alvaro Pereira (front) gestures during the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match Uruguay vs. France on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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Uruguay’s goalkeeper Fernando Muslera (R) and Uruguay’s defender Diego Lugano (2nd R) lead the team off the field after their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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A security guard stands guard outside of a fast food restaurant next to an image of Honduran national football team captain David Suazo in Tegucigalpa on June 11, 2010. Honduras will face Chile on June 16 in their opening 2010 FIFA World Cup South AFrica football match.