JOHANNESBURG (South Africa) (AFP) Diego Maradonas Argentina look certainties for a place in the last 16 of the World Cup after their 4-1 Group B victory over South Korea on Thursday as Real Madrids Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat-trick. Maradonas side will be sure of a place in the knock-out phase later on Thursday if Group B rivals Greece and Nigeria draw in Bloemfontein. Midfield maestro Lionel Messi was superb throughout as Argentina raced into a 2-0 first-half lead thanks to a header from Higuain and an own-goal by Koreas Park Chu-Young. Monaco forward Park turned a free-kick by Messi into his own net on 17 minutes before Higuains header extended the South American giants lead with his first goal on 33 minutes. South Koreas Lee Chung-Yong gave his side hope with a goal at the end of the first half to make it 2-1, but Messi-inspired Argentina were not to be denied. Higuain made sure of the win with two goals in four minutes late in the second-half in front of a 82,174-strong crowd at Soccer City. Argentina meant business from the kick-off and took the lead when Messis free-kick deflected off Parks legs who could only watch in horror as the ball flew over the line. Argentina coach Diego Maradona then replaced the limping Walter Samuel with AS Romas Nicolas Burdisso on 23 minutes. Argentina extended the lead when Maxi Rodriguezs cross was flicked on by Burdisso for Higuain to beat Korean 'keeper Jung Sung-Ryong on 33 minutes, before Lees late effort gave the South Koreans hope for the second-half. Jung pulled off two great saves in quick succession early in the half: first from Higuain at close-quarters after a good break from Angel Di Maria, a constant threat to the Korean defence, then Tevez after a long-range shot. The only slight blemish on the Argentinians day was Jonas Gutierrrez second booking of the tournament which will see the Newcastle United star miss the next game with Greece. Higuain settled the contest after Messi beat two defenders in the box and squared for the Real forward to fire into an empty net on 76 minutes while Messi again played a hand in the fourth goal on 80 minutes to seal the win. Man-of-the-match Higuain jogged off in the 82nd minute to loud applause from the Argentina fans, but the 22-year-olds reply in kind could well have been for midfield maestro Messi who created his goals. Meanwhile, Uruguays Diego Forlan blasted a stunning 25-metre goal in the 24th minute and added a penalty as the two-time world champions beat host nation South Africa 3-0 Wednesday in a World Cup match. As a result, the South Americans moved atop of the Group A standings while the South Africans suffered a severe blow in their bid to avoid becoming the first World Cup host ousted in the first round. Atletico Madrid star Forlan opened the scoring by slamming a right-footed shot from well outside the penalty area which tucked under the crossbar, leaving South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune helpless. I capitalized on the opportunity for the goal. Step by step, Forlan said. We are professionals. We play football and we finish. South Africa had been unbeaten in their past 13 games under Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who guided his homeland to the 1994 World Cup crown and said Forlans strike made all the difference. The first goal was a fantastic shot. There was basically no way our goalkeeper could have saved it, Parreira said. If there was not this shot, I think the game would have been different. Forlan added a penalty in the 80th minute after Khune was issued a red card, only the second ever given a goalkeeper in World Cup finals history, by Swiss referee Massimo Busacca. He is the worst referee in this competition, Parreira said. I hope we dont see his face again in any game anymore. He probably does not deserve to be here. Khune was trying to keep the ball from Ajax star Luis Suarez but caught the front of the Uruguyans left boot with his foot and was immediately dismissed. It will rule him out of Tuesdays game with France. For sure it was a penalty, Forlan said. Italys Gianluca Pagliuca, formerly of Sampdoria and Inter Milan, was the only other goalkeeper to be red carded in a World Cup finals match, that coming in 1994 against Norway. Reserve goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs entered in place of South African striker Steven Pienaar to replace Khune, but was helpless to deny Forlans powerful penalty. I think we have to blame ourselves, not the referee, said South African striker Steven Pienaar of Everton. The 10-man hosts pressed forward but were largely contained by the South Americans and they killed the game off with Portos Alvaro Pereira adding a final goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time. The most important thing is not my two goals, but that we have won, said Forlan. Its a victory for all the team. We are very happy. Uruguay, who opened with a 0-0 draw with France, have four points with South Africa, who drew 1-1 with Mexico on one. France and Mexico play Thursday. The match came on South Africas Youth Day holiday, the anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprising that galvanized the fight for freedom by black South Africans and helped lead to the end of apartheid in the 1990s. South African midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi, who plays for Fulham, picked up a yellow card in the 42nd minute, his second in as many matches meaning he too will miss the France match.