Unhappy World Cup anniversary for South Korea

JOHANNESBURG - As anniversaries go, Thursday's was one South Korea will want to forget in a hurry.

Hammered 9-0 by Hungary on their World Cup debut 56 years ago to the day, South Korea suffered another crushing loss at soccer's showpiece tournament, with Huh Jung-moo's side ripped apart 4-1 by a rampant Argentina at Soccer City.

After sweeping Greece aside 2-0 in their Group B opener, the South Korea coach was surprised his side lost so heavily.

"It was unexpected, but regardless of the score we still have every chance of making it into the last 16," Huh told a news conference.

"Argentina were very lucky with their first goal and we missed a lot of golden opportunities. We fought hard against a team that has a lot of world-class players and today's game taught us a valuable lesson for the future."

Argentina played like potential world champions, Gonzalo Higuain grabbing a hat-trick and Lionel Messi conjuring up another magical midfield performance.

The game also marked the renewal of rivalry between Huh and Argentina coach Maradona, who came head-to-head at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico City.

Maradona came in for some brutal treatment that day, from Huh in particular, but still inspired his side to a 3-1 win.

The two coaches were this time involved in heated debate on the sidelines of Thursday's game.

"I don't think it was really appropriate what he was trying to do," Huh said of Maradona's antics.

"I didn't really understand what he was trying to say to me... but I don't think it's appropriate for a coach to direct such comments at another coach."

South Korea, who have only recorded two World Cup wins on foreign soil, face Nigeria in their last group game on Tuesday.

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