Alexandros the Great can't stop Argentina
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
Greece's Giorgos Karagounis, right, gestures at Argentina's Lionel Messi during World Cup play at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. (REUTERS/David Gray)
POLOKWANE - The moment the second Argentine goal of the night bulged the mesh in the back of the Greek net with a resounding "swish," Diego Maradona could not contain his emotions, jubilantly leaping into the arms of one of his assistants.
At this rate, the Argentine manager might feel like his feet will not touch the ground again for the remainder of this tournament.
And why shouldn't he feel like he's walking on air these days?
His team, after all, has established itself as the class of the South Africa 2010 field, once again flexing its collective muscle by defeating Greece 2-0 at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday.
The dominating win propelled the Argentines into the Group of 16, where they'll face Mexico at Johannesburg's Soccer City on Sunday.
Note to Mexico: Do you have any idea what you're in for?
It's great that you managed to somehow wriggle your way into the Round of 16 even though you lost 1-0 to Uruguay on Monday afternoon.
And after you all had showered, shaved and done whatever else Mexican soccer players do in the sanctity of the dressing room, you all probably went back to watch Argentina take on Greece in the late game.
You couldn't have liked what you saw.
It probably looked twice as bad in high definition too.
Looking to give some of his big guns a rest, Maradona inserted seven new faces into the lineup. Seven! That's more than half his starters. That's the practice squad. That's the B Team.
Even with that, Argentina won by two goals. And if not for the brilliance of Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas, it would have been more. Much more.
Using a side primarily consisting of subs - make that "super subs" - Maradona's bunch dominated. They came at the Greeks in repeated waves.
Yet time and time again, Tzorvas held the fort, turning in one spectacular save after another. And still, the Argentines kept coming.
Finally, with just 13 minutes remaining in regulation, defender Martin DeMichelis finally broke the scoreless deadlock, breaking hearts from downtown Athens to Toronto's Danforth Ave. in the process.
DeMichelis collected a rebound from his own header off a corner kick and ripped a shot into the top corner past a helpless Tzorvas, who had the type of helpless look on his face that Superman might possess after finally being felled by Kryponite.
Only in this case, it was a relentless Argentine attack that finally broke through Tzorvas, Greece's man of steel.
And now, you are up next, Mexico.
It's your turn to attempt to defend the best team in the tournament to date, one that went 3-0 and outscored the opposition 7-1 in this round.
And by the way, there is some guy name Lionel Messi you might want to watch some film on. By the time your done, you'll probably consider it a horror flick.
Messi failed to score again and has yet to hit the back of the net in this tournament. No matter. As usual, he was the best player on the pitch on this night, scrambling around like a waterbug, ringing a missile off the post for a second consecutive game, you name it.
Four years ago during the World Cup in Germany, Argentina knocked you out of the World Cup. Now they will try to do it again. Only this time, they will feature a Lionel Messi who has turned into the world's best player, and a manager in Maradona who is a true legend of the game.
Practice hard. Keep your heads up. Your confidence too. Because when you come out of those film sessions after watching this juggernaut at work, you'll need all of it you can get.