Greece, Nigeria in vital Group B second match
BLOEMFONTEIN – Greece and Nigeria are in the same predicament ahead of their World Cup Group B match today: lose and they’re almost certain of a first-round exit.
But Otto Rehhagel’s Greek lineup’s position is even more grim.
Nigeria only conceded one goal and went close to scoring a late equaliser in an opening loss to Argentina, while the Greeks lost 2-0 to 2002 World Cup semi-finalists South Korea and still have to face Lionel
Messi and the Argentine squad in their last group game.
Rehhagel led Greece to an unexpected European championship title in 2004 with a defence-first philosophy that demands his players follow his tactics precisely, denying opponents space and capitalising on set-piece attacks.
And that’s their emphasis again.
“The team has to have a defensive capability in modern football,” goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis said. “The whole team has to shut down spaces – so it’s not an issue of individual players or the defence alone.”
The Nigerians can’t afford to lose, either, and have secluded themselves north of Durban this week to focus entirely on football. (AP)