Olympic Preview: Group A, Day 2

Sunday 10 August 2008 (all times Beijing)
17:00 Argentina - Australia
19:45 Serbia - Cote d'Ivoire

Argentina - Australia

Argentina hit the ground running in their first match with a hard-fought but deserved 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast, mirroring their achievements at the 2006 World Cup.

This time, though, it was up to the young guns of Lionel Messi and Lautaro Acosta to seal the victory, the latter popping up four minutes from time to add to the brilliant Messi's 43rd minute opener.

They now meet an Olyroo outfit still smarting from Slobodan Rajković's late equaliser, which condemned them to a 1-1 draw against Serbia in their opener.

The two faced off at Olympic level as recently as 2004: Argentina had the upper hand then as Andres d'Alessandro gave them a 1-0 victory in Athens. Australia lost to Iraq in the second round; as for the albiceleste, the rest is history.

Players to watch: Lautaro Acosta came off the bench ten minutes from time to seal the win for Argentina - he may just have earned himself a start here. If not, Captain Juan Román Riquelme is always worth a look. For Australia, Adam Federici of Reading is likely to be involved a great deal between the goalposts.

Serbia - Cote d'Ivoire

The Ivory Coast desperately need points to prevent their becoming cut adrift at the bottom of the group, so events in Shanghai are crucial for the Elephants.

Gérard Gili's men only lost out to that late goal against Argentina, but in truth they were second best on the night and would perhaps have been lucky to escape with a point.

Nonetheless there is no shame in that - Argentina did bring an incredibly strong squad, after all - and spirits will remain reasonably high ahead of the contest with the Eagles.

The Serbs will be disappointed at having dropped two points - as they may see it - in their opening fixture and may now regard this as the last chance to get a win on the board, given the might of Argentina.

They started slowly against Australia and will need to be much quicker out of the blocks to secure the victory they require.

Players to watch: Over-ager Miljan Mrdaković was used as a second-half substitute against the Olyroos and may be called upon for his experience. Milan 'Lola' Smiljanić, meanwhile, will look to impress in midfield for the Serbs. Gervinho was a positive influence for the Ivorians in the last game, but Sekou Cissé must be watched for that goalscoring touch.

Olympic Preview: Group A, Day 2 Reviewed by admin Ucop on 12:18 AM Rating: 5

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