Thursday, August 7, 2008

7:30AM: Men's Football, Preliminaries: Argentina vs. Ivory Coast

9:42AM - So thanks to Lionel Messi who scored the game's first goal and then providing the assist for Acosta to score the go-ahead goal, Argentina gets three points and is at the top of the group standings, followed by Australia and Serbia, each with one point after today's tie earlier today, then Ivory Coast who gets no points after playing a well-fought game against Argentina.

Let's take a look at the other results, all ended in ties:
Korea 1, Cameroon 1
Netherlands 0, Nigeria 0
China 1, New Zealand 1

So that ends the first round of games in pool play in men's soccer. Visit later today for a full roundup as well as the latest in the final 24 hours before the Opening Ceremonies. And remember to come back here for more LIVE BLOGGING during the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. Thanks for joining us and come back soon.

9:40AM - It's over! Argentina pulls out a victory here and sadly for Ivory Coast, who played extremely well against the defending gold medalists, will leave this game with no points. Final score: Argentina 2, Ivory Coast 1.

9:40AM (90+ 4) - Messi comes out of the game to the cheers of the crowd as Sosa comes in.

9:36AM (90' + 1) - Four additional minutes have been added.

9:35AM (90') - Ivory Coast running out of time to equalise. If the score stands, Argentina will be ahead and Ivory Coast will be put last after the other two teams in their group, Australia and Serbia, tied earlier today and each received a point.

9:31AM (87') - ARGENTINA SCORES! Free kick and a great follow-up from the cross. Acosta scores the go-ahead goal and Argentina is up 2-1.

9:30AM - UPDATE: China has just equalized with New Zealand, and they are tied 1-1.

9:27AM - UPDATE: Cameroon tied with Korea, one goal apiece.

9:25AM (80') - Aguero out, Acosta in for Argentina.

9:24Am (78') - Gervinho with a huge opportunity playing the ball 1 on 1 with a defender, but he wasn't able to place the ball in the right spot. Kicks it just wide.

9:23AM (77') - Good try for Ivory Coast as they try to keep up the aggressiveness. Their last offensive saw them trying to keep up a pass but the Argentine defenders prevent anything from happening.

9:20AM (74') - Ivory Coast makes a substitution, Anthony Moura-Komenan providing fresh legs as Cisse comes out.

9:19AM - Update: Korea up 1-0 over Cameroon. Nigeria and Netherlands remain tied and New Zealand is still up 1-0.

9:17AM (72') - I'm wondering if either coach will make substitutions soon. So far we've seen one on each side but there are some obvious signs of fatigue on both sides. The pace is getting a little bit slower and we aren't seeing the explosive offense that we saw earlier in the game.

9:14AM (70') - A close shot for Argentina that was fumbled by Angban before finally making the save.

9:10AM (65') - Another shot that we though was a goal but turned out to be offsides, this time for Argentina.

9:09AM (64') - Several substitutions being made on both sides. Lavezzi comes out for Argentina and di Maria comes in. And for the Ivory Coast, Dja Djedje comes in for N Gossan.

9:06AM (61') - Ivory Coast on a long possession that ends up with some words being exhanged and a yellow card issued to Aguero.

8:58AM (53') - IVORY COAST SCORES! The equaliser from Cisse, a brilliant header from the cross forward. And this game is level again. What exciting soccer from both sides, and its only right that Ivory Coast keep this game tied.

8:57AM - Update: New Zealand just scored against China. New Zealand squad is up 1-0.

8:51AM (46') - Second Half is underway. Ivory Coast in the orange and white, Argentina in blue and white. Ivory Coast still has a great chance and if they keep up the offensive aggressiveness that they had in the first half, then an Ivory Coast goal could very well be inevitable.

8:37AM (Halftime) - A look at the other games going on right now, all are at halftime:
China 0, New Zealand 0
Nigeria 0, Netherlands 0
Korea 0, Cameroon 0

8:35AM (Halftime) - Let's take a look at the halftime statistics. Argentina has had 3 shots on goal while Ivory Coast only has 2. It seemed like both sides had a lot more though. Nine fouls on the Ivory Coast side while Argentina has seven. Ivory Coast failed to convert any of their four corner kicks and Argentina had two free kicks.

8:33AM (Halftime) - Very exciting first half in Shanghai as both sides put up great offensive plays and opportunities. In the end, Argentina is the one that is in fron after Messi was able to find a huge opening. Hopefully, the action will continue at this exciting pace in the second half.

8:28AM (42') - ARGENTINA SCORES! You knew it was coming, a great pass to Messi and it was onsides and amazing that after all the close calls and the saves that were made, the first goal is scored in a wide open situation.

8:25AM (39') - Angban making a crucial save for the Ivory Coast after the free kick by Messi looked like it was placed in a good spot.

8:23AM (38') - Ivory Coast thought they had the score but the referees have ruled it offsides.

8:21AM (36') - Ivory Coast was so close to scoring after they failed to capitalize on the cross. We remain scoreless with ten minutes to go in the half.

8:18AM (33') - Great movement of the ball and there were three players involved in getting the ball so close to the goal, but Angban gets lucky and gets the ball. Just saw the replay, and if the foot was a little higher, the shot would have been more powerful and probably would have scored. Brilliant offensive plays by the defending gold medalists.

8:15AM (30') - Ustari makes a save for Argentina after the Ivory Coast corner kick.

8:13AM (26') - The cross shot was the closest that IVory Coast has gone to scoring and Argentina is leaving a lot of room for Ivory Coast to take opportunities.

8:05AM (20') - The first 20 minutes has been quite entertaining, it looks like each team is playing aggressively rather than conservatively. So far no goal has been socred. If Ivory Coast can place the ball a little better and have other teammates find the cross kicks, they have a good chance of taking the lead.

8:02AM (17') - Juan Riquelme with another free kick, plays it across and the shot goes to high.

7:57AM (12') - Ivory Coast knows that the defense is most important aspect that they need to maintain. You can see them putting a lot of pressure on the Argentine strikers each time they get into the box.

7:56AM (11') - Lavessi tried to do something with that cross but Argentina is having a hard time getting to the ball in time.

7:53AM (7') - Brilliant passing but no dice for the Argentines as Angban makes a fantastic save for Ivory Coast.

7:50AM (4') - Riquelme tried to do his best with that free kick, but Ivory Coast goalkeeper Vincent Angban keeps the game scoreless.

7:48AM (3') - Ivory Coast gets a corner kick after Gervinho tries to cross a well-played ball.

7:44AM - So the defending gold medalists is set to face the African upstart team. The team from Ivory Coast features some great players as well, including Sekou Cisse and Salomon Kalou. Of course look out for Lionel Messi and Juan Riquelme.

7:41AM - As the national anthems are being played, here are the other games that we'll keep our eye on during this late round of soccer games being played today:

China vs. New Zealand
South Korea vs. Cameroon
The Netherlands vs. Nigeria

7:37AM - The big story here is the one surround Lionel Messi, who looks like he'll be staying in Beijing and is in the starting lineup. FIFA had ruled that club organizations must release their under-23 players for the Olympics but yesterday, the court of Arbitration overturned that ruling. Messi plays for FC Barcelona who cited that the club needs him more for the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds that are occuring during the Olympics.

7:31AM - Here are the starting lineups:

7:30AM - We apologize for those who were looking for our live blog for the early round of soccer games that occured at 5AM EDT today. We were experiencing some technical difficulties. But we are back here now and just in time for the late round of soccer games that we are about to see today, including coverage of the host nation China facing New Zealand and Argentina playing against Ivory Coast. Stay with us, we'll be back with the starting lineups.

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