Argentina opened the “Group of Death” with a 1-0 win over African power Nigeria. Gabriel Batistuta, who earlier this week was named the starter over Hernan Crespo, tallied the game’s only goal. In the 63rd minute Batistuta rose at the back post to head a Juan Sebastian Veron corner kick into the net. Argentina was the more dangerous team throughout the match, and seemed on the verge of adding a second goal. Crespo, who replaced Batistuta late in the game, squandered a good chance when he shot high from a tough angle in alone on the goalkeeper. Nigerian goalkeeper Ike Shoronmu played well, especially late in the game, when he made two huge saves on Batistuta and Kily Gonzalez.
ARG - Gabriel Batistuta ... 63rd minute.
Argentina: 12-Pablo Oscar Cavallero, 2-Roberto Ayala, 13-Diego Rodolfo Placente, 4-Mauricio Roberto Pochettino, 6-Walter Adrián Samuel, 10. Ariel Ortega, 14-Diego Pablo Simeone, 3-Juan Pablo Sorín, 11-Juan Sebastian Verón (16-Pablo Aimar,78), 8-Javier Zanetti, 9. Gabriel Omar Batistuta (19-Hernan Crespo,81), 7-Claudio Javier López (18-Kily Gonzalez, 46).
Nigeria: 1-Ike Shoronmu, 3-Celestine Babayaro, 5-Isaac Okoronkwo, 16-Efe Sodje (15-Justice Christopher, 73), 6-Taribo West, 2-Joseph Yobo, 11-Garba Lawal, 10-Jay-Jay Okocha, 17-Julius Agahowa, 4-Nwankwo Kanu (7-Pius Ikedia, 48), 9-Bartholomew Ogbeche
ARG - Walter Adrián Samuel (caution) ... 51st minute
NGR - Efe Sodje (caution) ... 73.
ARG - Diego Pablo Simeone (caution) ... 90.
Paraguay - South Africa
Quinton Fortune converted a penalty kick in extratime to earn South Africa a 2-2 draw with Paraguay in Busan. Paraguay jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from the ever-dangerous Roque Santa Cruz (39th minute) and Francisco Arce (55th minute), but South Africa used some good fortune to snatch a point.
Paraguay was the dominant team for the first hour, and their scoreline could have been even greater if Santa Cruz had any luck in the penalty area. Instead, the luck sided with South Africa, and Estanislao Struwa knocked the ball into his own net to give South Africa a glimmer of hope.
Paraguay played without ace goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert, who was missing the game through suspension, and his replacement conceded a penalty in the 90th minute. Paraguay goalkeeper Ricardo Olimpia Tavarelli dragged down South Africa's Sibusiso Zuma in the penalty area, giving Fortune a last opportunity to salvage a point. The Manchester United made no mistake and gave South Africa their third time in four all-time World Cup matches.
PAR - Roque Santa Cruz .... 39th minute
PAR - Francisco Arce .... 55.
RSA - Estanislao Struway (own goal) .... 63.
RSA - Quinton Fortune .... 90.
Paraguay: 22-Ricardo Olimpia Tavarelli, 2-Francisco Arce, 5-Celso Ayala, 18-Julio César Cáceres, 21-Denis Ramón Caniza, 4-Carlos Gamarra, 10-Roberto Miguel Acuña, 8-Guido Alvarenga (14-Diego Gavilán, 66), 11-Jorge Campos (16-Gustavo Morínigo, 72), 6-Estanislao Struway (17-Juan Carlos Franco, 86), 9-Roque Santa Cruz
South Africa: 16-Andre Arendse, 3-Bradley Carnell, 13-Pierre Issa (9-McDonald Mukansi, 27), 4-Aaron Mokoena, 2-Cyril Nzama, 19-Lucas Radebe 7-Quinton Fortune, 12-Tebeho Mokoena, 6-Ntuthuko Sibaya, 15-Sibusiso Zuma, 17-Benedict McCarthy (23-George Koumantarkis, 78)
RSA - Aaron Mokoena (caution) ... 3rd minute
RSA- Pierre Issa (caution) ... 9.
PAR - Julio César Cáceres (caution) ... 35.
RSA - Benedict McCarthy (caution) 38.
RSA - Sibusiso Zuma (caution) ... 45.
PAR - Denis Ramón Caniza (caution) ... 65.
PAR- Ricardo Olimpia Tavarelli (caution) ... 90.
PAR- Juan Carlos Franco (caution) ... 90.
England - Sweden
England and Sweden battled to a 1-1 draw in Saitama, Japan, keeping both teams very much alive in the "Group of Death". Sol Campbell opened the scoring, nodding home a beautiful corner kick from captain David Beckham in the 24th minute. Beckham, who was uncertain of his status for today's game earlier in the week, played 62 minutes before giving way to Kieron Dyer, another English injury worry.
After a lackluster first half, Sweden dominated the second period and were only denied from taking all three pointsby two superb David Seaman on Teddy Lucic. Sweden got its just equalizer in the 59th minute, when Niclas Alexandersson capitalized on a Danny Mills error to blast a left-footed lazer past a still Seaman from 20 yards. England were under near constant pressure for the final half hour and could not have been unhappy with one point from a less than stellar performance that was drowned in whistles as the clock ran down.
England next face Argentina on June 7 in the most anticipated match of the first round. Sweden will face Nigeria, who lost 1-0 to Argentina, also on June 7.
ENG - Sol Campbell ..... 24th minute.
SWE- Niclas Alexandersson ..... 59.
England: 1-David Seaman, 6-Sol Campbell, 3-Ashley Cole, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 2-Danny Mills, 7-David Beckham (23-Kieron Dyer, 63), 18-Owen Lee Hargreaves, 8-Paul Scholes, 11-Emile Heskey, 10-Michael Owen, 20-Darius Vassell (19-Joe Cole, 74)
Sweden: 1-Magnus Hedman, 15-Andreas Jakobsson, 16-Teddy Lucic, 2-Olof Mellberg, 4-Johan Mjallby, 7-Niclas Alexandersson, 6-Tobias Linderoth, 9-Fredrik Ljungberg, 17-Magnus Svensson (8-Anders Svensson, 56), 10-Marcus Allbäck (20-Daniel Andersson, 81), , 11-Henrik Larsson.
ENG - Sol Campbell (caution) ... 12th minute
SWE -Marcus Allbäck (caution) ... 45.
SWE- Andreas Jakobsson (caution) ... 73.
Spain - Slovenia
Three goals in the game's final 20 minutes produced an exciting finish and a 3-1 win for Spain over Slovenia in Gwangju. Raul opened the scoring for Spain just before the halftime whistle, using a sublime move inside the box to free himself up and to poke the ball past a stunned Marko Simeunovic.
Juan Carlos Valeron injected life into the match, latching onto a perfectly paced pass to score Spain's second goal. The game immediately picked up the pace, and Slovenia added a goal in the 82nd minute to make the final 10 minutes interesting. But two minutes from time Spain was awarded a penalty kick, and Fernando Hierro scored from the spot to end any suspense in the game.
With the win, Spain moved to the top of Group B. Spain next faces Paraguay (June 7) and Slovenia faces South Africa (June 8).
ESP - Raúl González ..... 44th minute.
ESP - Juan Carlos Valerón ..... 74.
SVN - Segastjan Cimirotic ..... 82.
ESP - Fernando Hierro ..... 88.
Spain: 1-Iker Casillas, 3-Juan Francisco Garcia (15-Enrique Fernandez Romero, 83), 6-Fernando Hierro, 20-Miguel Angel Nadal, 5-Carles Puyol, 8-Ruben Baraja, 11-Francisco De Pedro, 21-Luis Enrique Martínez (4-Ivan Helguera, 74), 17-Juan Carlos Valerón, 7-Raúl González, 10-Diego Tristán (9-Fernando Morientes, 67).
Slovenia: 1-Marko Simeunovic, 5-Marinko Galic, 6-Aleksander Knavs, 3-Zeljko Milinovic, 8-Ales Ceh, 19-Amir Karic, 7-Dzoni Novak (14- Sasa Gajser, 78), 11-Miran Pavlin, 9- Milan Osterc (21-Segastjan Cimirotic, 57), 13-Mladen Rudonja, 10-Zlatko Zahovic (18-Milenko Acimovic, 63)
ESP - Juan Carlos Valerón ..... 36th minute
SVN - Amir Karic ..... 45.
SVN - Segastjan Cimirotic ... 65.