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Rediff.com  » Sports » Maradona, Huh to renew battle when Argentina face South Korea

Maradona, Huh to renew battle when Argentina face South Korea

Last updated on: June 16, 2010 10:58 IST

'In '86 Koreans played taekwondo, not football'

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Argentina coach Diego Maradona will see a familiar foe in the opposing dugout when his side face South Korea in their second Group B match at Soccer City on Thursday.

South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo was the man assigned to stop Maradona when the countries met in their opening match of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, a game long-remembered in Buenos Aires for the Koreans' strong-arm tactics against their skipper.

"I remember Huh very well," Maradona said after the draw pairing the sides together was made in December. "In 1986 the Koreans played taekwondo, not football, against us."


Image: Argentina's coach Diego Maradona at a traning session
Photographs: Reuters
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Both teams go into the match with a win behind them

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Maradona went into that game in Mexico City nursing a long-standing injury, and the Koreans tactics were to do anything they could to stop him.

Ultimately they failed as Maradona had a brilliant game leading his side to a 3-1 victory, setting off on the path that led to victory in the World Cup final against West Germany.

Argentina and South Korea, who have only played each other once since then, go into Thursday's match buoyed by victory in their opening games last Saturday with the Argentines beating Nigeria 1-0 and the Koreans ovecoming Greece 2-0.


Image: Argentina's Martin Palermo (left) and Clemente Rodriguez go through the grind at a training session

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Injured Veron likely to sit out

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Maradona has just one doubt over defender Juan Sebastian Veron, who strained his right calf muscle against Nigeria and was still sitting out training on Tuesday.

Although he is expected to play Veron, Maradona will probably wait until the last minute for a decision on his fitness, otherwise the team should be unchanged.

Veron, like Maradona, will also be keen to beat the Koreans after suffering some rough treatment from Pohang Steelers when his Estudiantes side played them at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in December with three Steelers players sent off.


Image: Argentina's Sergio Aguero (centre) battles for the ball with team-mates during a practice match

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Striker Lee Dong-guk set to return

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South Korea, who need to raise their game another notch to compete with Argentina, have no fresh injury worries.

Huh could also welcome striker Lee Dong-guk back into the lineup following his recovery from a thigh injury.

Huh has previously hinted he could employ a more conservative 4-5-1 formation against Argentina, which could see Lee at its apex with forward Park Chu-young pushed out wide.

Jung Song-ryong is likely to remain in goal after Huh's startling decision to axe Lee Woon-jae against Greece.

Jung had a solid start but was rarely tested and will undoubtedly be the busier of the two keepers on Thursday.


Image: South Korea's coach Huh Jung-moo (right) instructs players during a training session

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