Greece V Nigeria Preview – Thursday, 17th June (Group B)

17th June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions

 

Greece V Nigeria Preview

Kick-off: Thursday, 17th June – 15:00 GMT
Stadium: Free State Stadium, Pretoria
Referee: Oscar Ruiz (Colombia)
Group B

 

Greece

You could say the knock-outs have come early for the Greeks, who now need two successive wins over Nigeria and Argentina if they wish to extend their South Africa journey, although their laboured display against South Korea would perhaps indicates that the writing is already on the wall for Otto Rehhagel’s men, who now know every game is a must win scenario from here on in.

With Argentina still to play, defeat against the Nigerians and the Greek’s will be all but on the plane and travelling back to sunny Greece. Their 2-0 loss to South Korea has seemingly sent them down the path to ruin, although their star forward, Giorgos Samaras, claims the Korean defeat hasn’t necessarily rifled the Greek’s but more inspired them to do better next time around. Samaras was one of the players to be substituted in the second half after being ineffective for the most part, although his height would have made him a threat throughout, so that decision by Rehhagel did confuse us. The second controversial sub was that of their captain, Giorgos Karagounis, who did little to spark a revival and his lacklustre efforts resulted in his embarrassingly being substituted. There could very well be a few wounded ego’s in camp, a Greek dressing room now severely lacking in confidence following their dire loss to South Korea.

It’s difficult to see how Greece will come back from their South Korea setback, especially if they don’t turn up with more enthusiasm. They were so sluggish and one paced against the Koreans that it would take an improved performance of some proportion just to make this interesting you feel. Their defence is usually their strong point, rarely handing gifts or making mistake and so often resilient, but that couldn’t of been any further from the truth on Saturday. Surely there’s no way the Greeks can play any worse than they did five days ago, but by the same token they would need to come on leaps and bounds to challenge Nigeria for the spoils.

In 2004, Greece shocked the world when they seemingly came from out of nowhere to win the European Championships, defeating the Spanish, France and hosts Portugal en route to lifting the trophy for the first time in their history. On July 12th, 2010 Greece shocked nobody with their below par effort against South Korea in Port Elizabeth. The Greeks, who regard their current manager as a hero for masterminding their success in that famous year of 2004, has little answers to his sides lack of organisation, grit and determination. Can he inspire them on Thursday in a game they simply cannot afford to lose against Nigeria?

 

Nigeria

The Nigerians were just one goal away from claiming a share of the spoils in the first encounter of the tournament, with Gabriel Heinze’s header the only difference on the day between two-time winners Argentine and the ‘Super Eagles’ of Nigeria. However, while the gap separating them from the Argies was minuscule, the difference between an exciting knock-out campaign and an early trip back home is now three points, as South Korea and Argentina storm into an early advantage in Group B. Nigeria look the only team capable of challenging either of those teams for qualification but need a win over seemingly no-hoper’s Greece to stand any chance.

In three previous final appearances, 2002 remains the only World Cup where Nigeria haven’t made the Round of 16. They are, however, well on course to repeat that feat but there was enough promise, several pleasing aspects about their performance against Argentina in their opener which suggest that could bounce back with the win they so desperately. No matter what, with South Korea taking on Argentine elsewhere in a top of the table clash, Nigeria’s run in the tournament won’t end without their say so on June 22nd when they face South Korea in their final Group B clash. That could very well turn out to be another ‘must win’ game for the Africans, although victory over the hapless Greek’s would probably see Nigeria needing only a draw to secure their passage through to the last 16.

We were pleased to heart earlier that coach Lars Lagerback headed straight back to the training ground after his sides 1-0 loss to Argentina in their group opener to practice their attacking play, to sharpen up a blunt forward line which had spurned many a great opportunity against the Argentine’s. The pace of Obinna, Odemwingie and Martins asked questions of Argentina’s rearguard to which on occasions they had no answer. There was no criticism for the way Nigeria approached the game; defending stoutly when not in possession, with organised and well disciplined two banks of four protecting the goal. However, if you’re going to punish sides at the other end of the field, you need to ensure you have the composure and quality up top to do so, something Nigeria quite obviously never had in that game.

The Nigerian forwards do have an ample opportunity to make amends for their Argentina blunders, although they’ll do well to break down a usually heavily fortified Greek goal. Lagerback made the headlines with his decision to leave the talented Odemwingie out of the starting line up only to see the Lokomotiv Moscow play-maker dazzle the onlooking spectators with his well timed runs out on the flank. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Swedish manager doing a bit of backtracking as he recalls Odemwingie back for first-team duties in a bid to make an impact in a huge game.

 

World Cup Preview – Greece V Nigeria Betting Tips

Match Odds:

Greece – 4.50 BetFred
Draw – 3.40 Boylesports
Nigeria – 2.00 Bet365

 

Our Prediction: Nigeria to WIN – 2.00 Bet365

The Greek’s were extremely poor against the South Koreans in a game where beforehand they would have fancied their chances of winning, or at least keeping a clean sheet against a country which has one of the worst qualifying records when it comes to progressing from the groups. Instead, Greece  put in arguably the weakest team performance we’ve seen out of all the 32 teams competing. You would like to think they have a positive response to that well deserved loss, not that you could do a whole lot worse in fairness, but that consist feel you normally get with the Greeks, that trust if you like has been broken and we don’t see any reason why punters should give them a second chance despite their now attractive price.

Nigera just as many bad moments against Argentina as good, although, despite not scoring, Nigeria gave the impression that with a more composed of confident striker on the pitch they could of scored a couple. They used their physical assets; their strength and quick bursts of pace, to comfortably get past the Argentina defenders and if Greece are at sluggish like they were five days ago, Nigeria should at least register their first goal of the finals. We’re banking on them doing a tad more than just score.

Our Recommended Bet: Nigeria to Score First – 1.73 PaddyPower



The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+




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