Argentina shines, France stunned by Mexico

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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WORLD CUP SOCCER

Argentina again displayed the kind of attacking soccer that wins titles, and on Thursday at the World Cup the two-time champions even managed to put in the goals to show for it.

France, however, didn't show much of anything in a 2-0 loss to Mexico.

The Argentines beat South Korea 4-1 at Soccer City, getting a hat trick from Gonzalo Higuain and an own goal from Park Chu-young.

JOHANNESBURG -

Argentina again displayed the kind of attacking soccer that wins titles, and on Thursday at the World Cup the two-time champions even managed to put in the goals to show for it.

France, however, didn't show much of anything in a 2-0 loss to Mexico.

The Argentines beat South Korea 4-1 at Soccer City, getting a hat trick from Gonzalo Higuain and an own goal from Park Chu-young.

"We deserved this triumph because this was the type of outcome we'd hinted at achieving against Nigeria," Argentina coach Diego Maradona said, referring to his team's opening 1-0 win. "And this time it happened."

The Mexicans beat France 2-0 in Polokwane, leaving the 1998 champions on the verge of elimination. In Bloemfontein, Greece earned its first World Cup victory when the 2004 European champions came back to beat Nigeria 2-1. It was also Greece's first ever goals at the World Cup.

Argentina, which also dominated play against Nigeria, took the lead in the 17th minute when Park deflected a shot from Lionel Messi past his own goalkeeper.

Higuain then scored his first goal in the 33rd with a header, and added the others late in the second half after Lee Chung-yong cut the lead to 2-1 by taking advantage of a defensive mistake.

"I have to congratulate the players ... everything they did worked out well," Maradona said. "I am very happy."

Argentina leads Group B with six points from two games, while South Korea and Greece have three each. Nigeria, which next plays South Korea, is last with no points - but could advance with a win in the final round if Argentina beats Greece.

Against Greece, the Nigerians started well and took the lead in the 16th when Kalu Uche curled in a free kick. But Dimitris Salpingidis equalized in the 44th with a deflected shot, and Vassilis Torosidis scored the winning goal in the 71st after a mistake from Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

"I think the sending off played a big part in the game," Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo said. "We were controlling the game before the sending off."

Greece is playing at only its second World Cup, and before the opening loss to South Korea at this year's tournament, the Greeks lost all three matches at the 1994 World Cup, including one against Nigeria.

"We badly wanted this, because we'd never even scored a goal in the World Cup before," Salpingidis said. "I can't say whether we'll make it out the group. But I can say that we'll leave with our heads held high."

France again produced little, and this time the team couldn't keep its opponent from scoring.

"We feel a great disappointment and sadness," France coach Raymond Domenech said. "We struggled. At the moment I really don't have an explanation for it."

Javier Hernandez received a pass from Rafael Marquez and went around goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to give Mexico the lead in the 64th. Cuauhtemoc Blanco made it 2-0 by converting a penalty in the 79th.

Hernandez joined his grandfather as scorers at a World Cup. Tomas Balcazar scored for Mexico against France in the 1954 World Cup, although that was a consolation goal.

"I remembered my grandfather in the locker-room," Hernandez said. "I haven't spoken to my family yet, they're my main motivation."

Both Mexico and Uruguay have four points in Group A and meet each other Tuesday in Rustenburg. France and South Africa, both with one point, can still advance. They play Tuesday in Bloemfontein.

In Johannesburg, FIFA said Australia captain Tim Cahill will miss his team's Group D match against Ghana because of the red card he picked up in the opening game.

Cahill was sent off for a foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 56th minute of Australia's 4-0 loss to Germany on Sunday.

Off the field, there were more demonstrations at World Cup venues. About 200 stewards in Cape Town were dispersed with rubber bullets and a stun grenade in a labour dispute linked to low pay for World Cup duties.

Police Supt. Andre Traut said seven people were arrested but none injured during the protest outside the stewards' employer's offices.

Police have taken responsibility for stadium security in Cape Town, both Johannesburg venues, and the grounds in Durban and Port Elizabeth since stewards began protests Sunday night.

Organizations: France 2, FIFA, Group D

Geographic location: Argentina, France, Mexico Nigeria Greece JOHANNESBURG Bloemfontein South Korea Soccer Park Chu Australia Cape Town Uruguay Rustenburg South Africa Ghana Germany Durban Port Elizabeth

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