World Cup Open Thread, June 17th 2010

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - This is a metaphor. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Argentina - South Korea, 4:30 AM PDT/7:30 AM EDT/12:30 GMT

Greece - Nigeria, 7:00 AM PDT/10:00 AM EDT/15:00 GMT

France - Mexico, 11:30 AM PDT/2:30 PM EDT/19:30 GMT

Two very big matches bookending things today. If there is a winner between Argentina and South Korea, that side will be through to the quarterfinals; a draw will put both teams in good shape going into the final match of the group stage. Nigeria and Greece are playing for their lives. Uruguay put themselves in a very safe position by scoring three goals against South Africa; if one of France or Mexico are able to pick up three points Group A is all but decided. Lots on the line this morning.

Argentina should most likely be viewed as favorites, but South Korea cannot be written off; they aren't much for defending, but their attack is one of the more relentless you will ever see. If they can prevent Argentina from scoring early and bunkering down, they have a real shot to emerge with a good result. Still, Lionel Messi is on the pitch at the same time as South Korea's defense, so while I'm not willing to write them off completely, think could get realy ugly real fast.

While Greece looked as bad as any other team in the tournament in their opener, it is unlikely that their performance is indicative of their actual level of talent. With that being said, their actual level of talent isn't really relevant if the same team that went down to South Korea shows up today. Nigeria might have emerged from their match with Argentina without a point, but they gave a superior opponent about all they could handle and impressed many in doing so. Nigeria probably have the edge coming into this one but it wouldn't be a huge surprise if Greece improve upon their earlier effort and emerge with their chances of advancing intact.

France and Mexico are easily two of the most hate-able teams in the world for surprisingly similar reasons. I honestly cannot think of a reason to pull for one team over the other and I for one am hoping every single player on the pitch (keepers included) are sent off for diving and both teams are awarded zero points for this match and forced to forfeit their last. That seems kind of unlikely though. Anyways, France should probably win and from an objective standpoint it ought to be fairly entertaining.

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