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(Greek) Salad days

Greece grabbed their first ever win at a World Cup after a dramatic 2-1 victory against Nigeria, which saw a red card and yet another goalkeeping error tip the balance in favour of the Greeks – who were considered the worst side in the tournament up to now.

Nigeria got off to a better start, and it didn’t take them long to score the opening; only 16 minutes had gone when Kala Uche’s cross from a free-kick went curling past everyone – including the Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas – and it looked like Nigeria would stroll to a comfortable win against the tournament’s most negative team. However a stupid kick from Sani Kaita after arguing with Vassilis Torosidis over the ball (and a terrible piece of playacting from the Greek) meant the Super Eagles were left with ten men with just under an hour to play. Greece suddenly woke up, and a minute before half time got their reward, after a shot from Dimitris Salpingidis was savagely deflected past the outstanding Vincent Enyeama. The teams went in at the break all square, with Greece in the ascendency.

The second half turned on one 30-second passage of mental play, with both teams missing absolute sitters one after the other. First Fanis Gekas shot straight at Enyeama when gifted with a chance six yards out, and after Nigeria broke away quickly Yakubo found himself one-on-one – a chance he duly missed – and when the ball broke to Chinedu Obasi, he somehow managed to miss an open goal.

Ten minutes the Greeks took the lead, when Enyeama spilled a skipping shot from Alexandros Tziolis straight into the path of Vassilis Torosidis, who gleefully tapped the chance home. It proved to be the winner, despite the last-ditch huffing and puffing from the Nigerians. It’s not all bad news though; they can still go through if they beat South Korea and Argentina beat Greece.

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