Argentina demolish South Korea 4-1

Image: Gonzalo Higuain

Argentina played like potential world champions as they demolished South Korea 4-1 with an outstanding all-round display highlighted by a hat-trick from Gonzalo Higuain at Soccer City on Thursday.

The victory, following their impressive opening 1-0 win over Nigeria on Saturday, virtually guaranteed their place in the second round as they tightened their grip at the top of Group B.

Photographs: Reuters

Chu-young gives Argentina lead
Image: South Korea's Park Chu-young scores an own goal

Argentina's opening goal after 17 minutes was lucky as the ball bounced off Park Chu-young's shin like a bullet and into his own net giving goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong no chance of saving.

Higuain completes his hat-trick

Image: Gonzalo Higuain heads in the ball to complete his hat-trick

After Lee made it 2-1, Argentina were forced to dig deep to keep their noses in front and their reward duly came after 76 minutes when Higuain made it 3-1 with a tap-in.

It came after a brilliant run from Messi ended with his shot hitting the post and bouncing back to Higuain who poked it into an empty net from a metre out.

He completed his hat-trick with another header four minutes later -- the first by an Argentine player in the World Cup since Gabriel Batistuta scored a treble against Jamaica in 1998.