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Page last updated at 18:13 GMT, Thursday, 17 June 2010 19:13 UK

World Cup 2010: Lagerback upbeat despite Nigeria loss

Greece's Vassilis Torosidis

Highlights - Greece 2-1 Nigeria

Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback praised his side despite their 2-1 defeat by Greece which leaves them with only slim hopes of making the World Cup last 16.

The sending off of Nigeria midfielder Sani Kaita changed the game as Greece came back from a goal down to win.

"We started the match quite well, got the goal, then you have the sending off and we had problems," said Lagerback.

"In the circumstances I'm proud of the attitude and the work that the players put into the second half."

Despite the defeat the Super Eagles retain a mathematical chance of reaching the knockout stages, but would need to beat South Korea in their final game, hope that Argentina beat Greece and then it would come down to goal difference.

"The positive thing is that if Argentina win their game we still have a chance to qualify," added Lagerback.

Nigeria, who like Greece had lost their opening match in South Africa, 1-0 to Argentina, had taken an early lead in Bloemfontein after Kalu Uche's free-kick from out wide found its way into the net.

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But the dismissal of Kaita in the 33rd minute for kicking out at Vasileios Torosidis transformed the match.

Greece seized their chance and a deflected strike from Dimitrios Salpingidis drew them level just before half time before Torosidis struck the winner following a mistake from Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama.

Kaita was sorry for his actions, saying: "I would like to apologise to the Nigerian people, my team-mates and to the officials."

But Lagerback was left frustrated by the officials, in particular referee Oscar Ruiz.

"You go to the World Cup every four years and I am extremely disappointed," said Lagerback.

"The referees tell us to co-operate but you cannot speak to them after the game.

"They won't tell us why the player was sent off. We cannot have this dialogue.

"But I have to congratulate Greece. Now we need a favour from Argentina."

It was Greece's first World Cup finals victory and leaves them level with South Korea in Group B on three points and with the same goal difference.



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see also
Maradona revelling in 'easy' job
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
South Koreans rue missed chances
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup day seven photos
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Thursday's World Cup round-up
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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