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World Cup Recap - Greece vs. Argentina



(Tuesday, June 22nd)

Final Score: Argentina 2, Greece 0

Polokwane, South Africa (Sports Network) - Martin Demichelis and Martin Palermo scored late in the second half, helping Argentina complete a perfect run through Group B of the FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 win over Greece on Tuesday at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Demichelis scored the opener in the 77th minute and the 36-year-old Palermo added his first-ever World Cup goal in the 89th, as Argentina won for the third straight time in as many games to easily finish atop Group B. Greece was eliminated with the loss.

Argentina plays Mexico on Sunday in the round of 16, while South Korea also advanced from Group B with a 2-2 draw against Nigeria on Tuesday, and plays Uruguay on Saturday in the first knockout round.

Argentina dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes, but outside of a few half chances, failed to put Greece under any real pressure.

Sergio Aguero had a decent chance in the 18th minute for Argentina, but Greece goalie Alexandros Tzorvas palmed the ball wide of the left post.

Juan Veron returned to the lineup after missing Argentina's 4-1 win over North Korea and made his presence felt with a 40-yard blast that Tzorvas pushed high in the 19th.

Diego Milito created a good chance for Argentina in the 32nd, but Tzorvas dove to deflect his cross out of danger.

Maxi Rodriguez had an open look from the right side of the area in first-half stoppage time, then Lionel Messi followed with a dipping 20-yard shot seconds later, but Tzorvas was able to save both to leave Argentina scoreless at halftime for the first time through three games.

"The way Greece played made it tough for us," Messi said. "All they did was defend. Luckily we managed to impose ourselves again and we got another win, and that's what matters. I know I still haven't scored but I'm not bothered about that. Obviously I'd like to get a goal but it's only a question of time before it comes."

Greece opened the second half with its first shot when Georgios Samaras played down a long pass to avoid Demichelis in the 48th, then curled a ball just wide of the right post.

Clemente Rodriguez drove a pass into the area that Milito was unable to reach, and Tzorvas easily grabbed the ball in the 57th. Clemente Rodriguez then fired wide left one minute later on a long-range shot.

"It was a tough, tough match but I think we did our very best," Tzorvas said. "I'd probably be a bit happier with my performance if we'd managed to get a result. We're disappointed, and for me the result is far more important than my own performance. All the same, we've been able to learn something in every game."

Messi curled a long shot wide right in the 69th, and Mario Bolatti unleashed a bullet into the mid-section of Tzorvas from six yards to waste Argentina's top chance seconds later off a corner kick.

Demichelis ended Argentina's frustrations with under 15 minutes left after he headed an initial shot into Milito, then hammered the deflection home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Messi nearly sealed Argentina's win in the 89th, but Tzorvas pushed his shot wide and Palermo ran onto the rebound and easily slotted inside the right post to overtake manager Diego Maradona as the oldest Argentine player to score in the World Cup.

06/22 20:12:47 ET

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