Nigeria and Greece faced off in a must win Group B game this afternoon, and after a shocking start we had an exciting game on our hands.
Nigeria struck first when Uche’s freekick from distance flew over the heads of the waiting attackers and drifted past the ‘keeper. The game was drab and poor at that point and Greece didn’t look like equalizing at all.
They were gifted a huge glimmer of hope on the half hour mark though when Kaita saw red for a stupid act of aggression. Caught in a moment of anger the Nigerian kicked out at Torosidis. It was a harmless and pitiful swing but he had to see red according to the letter of the law and that sending off was just what Greece, and the game, needed.
Greece pressured heavily after the red card. Gekas missed a great chance when face-to-face with Enyeama, Samaras had a shot cleared off the line and just before half time Salpingidis smashed in a shot from outside the area which took a wicked deflection and spun past a beaten Enyeama. It was Greece’s first ever goal in a World Cup and a crucial one for their current World Cup campaign.
With half an hour to go in the second half Greece missed a great chance to get in front when Gekas’s shot was saved by Enyeama, and from the resulting counterattack Nigeria had an even better chance but Obasi somehow managed to miss an open goal when the ball rebounded to him.
Greece continued to push and with twenty minutes to go Torosidis poked Greece in front after a rare error from Enyeama. Greece held on after that as Nigeria fell to injury after injury. Greece now stand a good chance of qualifying from this group but they will need a result against Argentina to do so and South Korea look the team best poised to qualify along with Argentina.
A strange game in the end and an outcome that I certainly hadn’t predicted with the Newsblaze predictions. Kaita cost Nigeria this game with a stupid red card, before his sending off a Nigeria win was a formality but that red card gifted Greece a way back in and has dashed Nigerian hopes of any World Cup progression.
France play Mexico tonight in another crucial game which neither team can avoid to lose. It was a tricky one to predict.