BBC Sport world-cup-2010


Greece 2-1 Nigeria

By Chris Bevan
  1. 14:25 Commentary  

    Afternoon folks. Here's the lowdown for Greece and Nigeria this afternoon after that goal-den show by Argentina against South Korea. Win, and they are right back in the mixer in Group B. Lose, and it's not such great news... Especially for the Greeks - they will be the first team to be eliminated from the tournament.

  2. 14:29 Commentary  

    It's Chris Bevan here from Cape Town and, yes, I was impressed by Diego Maradona's mob too. They were top-class going forward today, no? Still, they were also couple of inches away from being hauled back to 2-2 by South Korea at one point and that sloppiness at the back might yet come back to bite them on the backside. Not today, though. Lionel Messi & co will be the first team through to the last 16 if Greece fail to win this one.

  3. Commentary Greece v Nigeria line-ups  

    Greece: 12-Alexandros Tzorvas; 11-Loukas Vyntra, 16-Sotiris Kyrgiakos, 15-Vassilis Torosidis, 6-Alexandros Tziolis, 8-Avraam Papadopoulos, 19-Socratis Papastathopoulos, 10-Giorgos Karagounis, 21-Kostas Katsouranis; 14-Dimitris Salpingidis, 17-Fanis Gekas.
    Nigeria: 1-Vincent Enyeama; 17-Chidi Odiah, 6-Danny Shittu, 2-Joseph Yobo, 3-Taye Taiwo, 12-Kalu Uche, 20-Dickson Etuhu, 15-Haruna Lukman, 14-Sani Kaita, 8-Yakubu Aiyegbeni, 11-Peter Odemwingie.
    Referee: Oscar Ruiz (Colombia)

  4. 14:31 Commentary  

    I don't think we have to worry about such defensive indiscipline from the Greeks, though. Their coach Otto Rehhagel seems to treat scoring goals with the same disdain as he does conceding them... he likes to keep things tight at the back, basically... even when Greece need a win, as they badly do today.

  5. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein  

    "The sun is shining and both Nigeria and Greece are going through their warm-ups ahead of this crucial contest for both sides. Half an hour to kick-off and I am desperately hoping that the ocean of empty seats fill up."

  6. Commentary Greece coach Otto Rehhagel on why he won't change his side's cautious style  

    "We have played our way and have been successful. We want to attack the goal of our opponent, but when our opponent is better than us that can also create difficulties."

  7. 14:40 Commentary  

    Just a reminder that I want, need and actually expect your company this afternoon. Greece does not have to be the word either. Text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), I'm on Twitter @chrisbevan_bbc or join the chat on 606.

  8. Commentary Nigeria forward Peter Odemwingie  

    "On our own part we are a very offensive team. We prefer to play open football. We take risks but we want to play football that everyone will enjoy."

  9. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at a chilly Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein  

    "There are bare chested male supporters here. I am wearing a T-shirt, two jumpers and a jacket designed for hiking in remote areas of Patagonia."

  10. Commentary Greece v Nigeria team news  

    Greece, who lost to South Korea in their opener, make three changes as they look to revive their campaign. Striker Dimitris Salpingidis starts ahead of Georgios Samaras and defenders Sotiris Kyrgiakos and Sokratis Papastathopoulos come in for forward Angelos Charisteas and defender Giourkas Seitaridis.

    Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback, whose side were beaten by Argentina, brings in forward Peter Odemwingie and midfielder Kalu Uche - both of whom came off the bench in that game.

  11. Contributor BBC Sport's Lee Dixon  

    Both Nigeria and Greece were very poor in their first games and only had three shots on target between them. Surely both coaches must go for it here because a point is no good to either of them."

  12. 14:53 Commentary  

    Here's more from Nigeria forward Peter Odemwingie, who spoke to BBC World Service yesterday and told them his side suffered from nerves in their opening game. Odemwingie said: "For many of us it was the first World Cup experience, but now we've got the first game out of the way, it is pure football."

  13. 14:58 Commentary  

    Anthem time. All the Greeeks are singing... oops hang on, no they're not, far from it actually, and neither is coach Otto Rehhagel. Poor show. The Nigerians do a bit better, but Joseph Yobo is chewing gum instead. Naughty.

  14. 15:02 KICK-OFF Greece v Nigeria  

    Here we go then: Greece kick off. Expect a cautious start (and middle and end) from them.

  15. 4 mins Commentary  

    Erm, it's not exactly all-action so far. The game has largely been contested in a very packed midfield and we've not seen much to shout about. It's cagey... but don't say you're surprised.

  16. 6 mins Commentary  

    Greece attack but a cross from the left intended for Fanis Gekas is too high for the striker. Nigeria? They are over-hitting their passes at the moment... it's still very scrappy indeed.

  17. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "Greece need a player who is brave, somebody who wants to get into the box."

  18. 10 mins Commentary  

    Better from Nigeria, who work the ball forward with a patient passing build-up down the right. But Chidi Odiah ruins it by rushing his cross into the box, and it flies harmlessly out of play. Oh dear, indeed.

  19. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein  

    "Cards on the table - I have seen two goalless draws so far and would rather like to see the ball bulge into the netting - anybody's netting. Not too much sign of that happening so far."

  20. 14 mins Commentary  

    Right, we've had a shot, so I'm not complaining. But Kostas Katsouranis tried to lob Vincent Enyeam from the half-way line, and that was never going to come off. At the other end, Yakubu runs on to a through-ball but it's over-hit and Alexandros Tzorvas comes off his line to collect. Action, at last.

  21. 16 mins GOAL Greece 0-1 Nigeria  

    Socratis Papastathopoulos pulls back Peter Odemwingie on the right and is booked for his troubles. Kalu Uche steps up to curl the resulting free-kick into the box... but it misses everybody and sails straight in. Greece keeper Alexandros Tzorvas didn't move an inch.

  22. 21 mins Commentary  

    Haruna Lukman is taken out on the edge of the area and Nigeria have another free-kick. Taye Taiwo takes this one, but smashes it straight against the wall. Still, they are well on top at the moment.

  23. 25 mins Commentary  

    We've not seen any sort of response from Greece yet. Kostas Katsouranis lifts a free-kick into the box but it is easily cleared by Danny Shittu.

  24. 606  

    From IonicJohn: "My word, how did Greece ever made it into the finals. You've expected if they were playing in a weaker continent group like Oceania (no offence) but in Europe things are at least of a higher standard... most of the time."

  25. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein  

    "Out it comes, the Mexican wave. To be fair, it isn't done too badly but I usually take its appearance to be a less than flattering reflection on the match. I wonder what the Greeek fans would give right now to see their team finally score a goal at a World Cup finals?"

  26. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "Greece are the most pedestrian team of the tournament."

  27. 33 mins RED CARD Nigeria's Sani Kaita  

    Totally unnecessary this. Nigeria's Sanu Kaita disputes a ball with Vassilis Torosidis after it has bounced out of play, then for some reason kicks out at his opponent. A moment of madness and referee Oscar Ruiz has no choice but to send him off. Hope for Greece.

  28. 37 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Greece coach Otto Rehhagel is going for it - even he has to really. He's bringing on another striker, Celtic's Giorgos Samaras, for midfielder Socratis Papastathopoulos.

  29. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "It was a crazy thing to do by Sanu Kaita - unnecessary and shows immaturity."

  30. 41 mins Commentary  

    Greece's best move of the match ends when the ball is played through to Dimitris Salpingidis. He is clean through but Vincent Enyeama is quickly off his line to block his first-time shot and Danny Shittu mops up by hacking clear. Nigeria's 10 men hanging on at the moment, waiting for half-time.

  31. 43 mins Commentary  

    More pressure for Greece. This time a corner is flicked on at the near post and reaches Giorgos Samaras. The ball is slightly behind him but he still gets something on it and his shot has to be booted off the line by Haruna Lukman.

  32. 44 mins GOAL Greece 1-1 Nigeria  

    It's been coming ever since Nigeria went down to 10 men. The ball is laid off for Dimitris Salpingidis, who belts in a shot from the edge of the area that seems to be heading just wide but takes a huge deflection off Haruna Lukman and loops into the opposite corner. That's history in the making: Greece have finally scored a goal at a World Cup finals!

  33. HALF-TIME Greece 1-1 Nigeria  

    A lifeline for Greece, who looked like they could be heading out of the World Cup until Sani Kaita saw red. Since then, they have equalised and have been pressing for more goals too. Game on.

  34. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein  

    "Hope yet for this game, which has completely changed since the dismissal of Sani Kaita. Greece are going for it. I have high hopes that we will see a second half of attacking football. Surely Greece will not try to shut up shop? They've just shown us what they can do when they want to push on."

  35. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "The Nigerians were cruising and there was absolutely no way Greece had any way of getting back into this match but that moment of indiscipline has turned everything on its head."

  36. 606  

    From simply_complicated: "So if reducing the number of players in the opponent team to 10 is what gets Greece going, then i would definitely not want Greece in the last 16. Seriously, Greece is a joke. Hopefully at least in the last 16 we have great football and surely we would want teams like Greece out of it."

  37. 16:03 Commentary  

    All-out attack from Greece seemed a pretty unlikely scenario at the start of play... this tournament must be warming up if that's happening, surely? Time to see who wants to stay in this World Cup the most...

  38. 14:04 SUBSTITUTION  

    A change by Nigeria. Chinedu Obasi is coming on for Peter Odemwingie for the second half, which has just started.

  39. 47 mins Commentary  

    Greece are pressing forward already, and Giorgos Karagounis should really do better with a cross from the right. He launches himself at the ball... but his header flies harmlessly over the bar.

  40. 49 mins Commentary  

    Nigeria are not just sitting back either, mind. Kalu Uche tests Alexandros Tzorvas with a teasing cross from the left that the Greek keeper, back-pedalling, only just tips over.

  41. SMS  

    From Cate in Peterborough: "What price Greece scraping through the group before going on to beat Argentina in the final? Will it be 2004 again?"

    Hmmm. I don't remember Greece beating Argentina in the final of Euro 2004..?

  42. 53 mins Commentary  

    More bad news for Nigeria.Taye Taiwo is down with a groin injury and looks in big trouble. He's off the pitch getting treatment, and his side are down to nine players at the moment. Meanwhile, Greece attack and Sotiris Kyrgiakos tests Vincent Enyeama with a header.

  43. 55 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Nope, Taye Taiwo cannot continue. Elderson Echiejile is on instead for Nigeria.

  44. 61 mins Commentary  

    Er, I'm not sure how both teams didn't just score there (I know that's not strictly possible). First Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama denies Fanis Gekas after a poor headed clearance by Joseph Yobo gifts Gekas the ball in front of goal. Nigeria break quickly - very quicklyy - and suddenly Yakubu is clean through too but Alexandros Tzorvas gets something on his shot and, with the goal gaping, Chinedu Obasi somehow fires the rebound wide. Amazing stuff.

  45. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "The chances for Greece and Nigeria were absolute certainties, but they ended up being such failures."

  46. 65 mins Commentary  

    I suppose anything is a lull in the action after that frantic spell, but Greece have definitely lost their edge in the last few minutes. Nigeria are seeing a bit more of the ball than they have been.

  47. 69 mins Commentary  

    Better from Greece. Much better. Fanis Gekas is about to get on the end of a cross at the near post but Joseph Yobo gets across to head clear. From the resulting corner, Giorgos Samaras Samaras sends a header towards the top corner but Vincent Enyeama saves Nigeria again, flinging himself to his left to push the ball away.

  48. 72 mins GOAL Greece 2-1 Nigeria  

    From hero to zero for Vincent Enyeama I'm afraid. A Greece corner is cleared as far as Alexandros Tziolis but his low shot should be easy for the Nigeria goalkeeper. Instead, he spills it, and Vassilis Torosidis is first to the loose ball to turn it in.

  49. 76 mins Commentary  

    Almost a third goal for Greece. Giorgos Karagounis lets fly from 25 yards out but his shot zips wide. Still, Nigeria are not done yet - Yakubu has not had the greatest game but he has just come close to rescuing his team, sending a stinging effort flying wide of the post.

  50. 80 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    A couple of changes to tell you about. Sotiris Ninis is coming on for Greek striker Fanis Gekas. And Nigeria substitute Elderson Echiejile has been forced off by an injury - Rabiu Afolabi is on instead.

  51. 83 mins Commentary  

    Kalu Uche was the player who put Nigeria ahead - that seems a long time ago now though doesn't it? He's just had another pop, after cutting in from the left but the ball rolls harmlessly wide. Time is running out for his side.

  52. 85 mins Commentary  

    Nigeria look tired to me... Not surprising really, they have been playing with 10 men for almost an hour now.

  53. 89 mins Commentary  

    Greece are defending in numbers but breaking quickly too. I'm not sure King Otto will approve. Still, Nigeria have had another man booked - Chinedu Obasi brought down Sotiris Kyrgiakos as he strode forward. They are looking desperate now.

  54. 90 mins INJURY TIME  

    We will have four minutes of added time... can Greece hold on for their first ever World Cup finals win?

  55. 92 mins Commentary  

    Nigeria have hoisted a couple of free-kicks towards the Greek area but they were easily cleared and that is as close as they've come to an equaliser. It's Greece who are looking more dangerous, with Alexandros Tziolis forcing a sprawling save from Vincent Enyeama.

  56. FULL-TIME Greece 2-1 Nigeria  

    They've done it. A landmark victory for Greece, who remain very much in contention for a place in the last 16. Nigeria aren't out of it yet, mind... but it's not looking good for Lars Lagerback's men - and they only have themselves (well, Sani Kaita) to blame.

  57. Contributor BBC Sport's Lee Dixon  

    "Vincent Enyeama had made some fantastic stops. For a goalkeeper of that quality to go down to save a ball and then have to move his hands at the last moment could mean there is something not right with the ball."

  58. 17:00 Commentary  

    Right, the upshot of today's results means the outcome of Group B is still up in the air. Argentina are in pole position, no doubt about it, with two wins out of two games but they still need a point against Greece to be sure of qualifying. Nigeria have lost two out of two but qualification is still not beyond them if they beat South Korea in their final game. All to play for then...

  59. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Pleat  

    "The Greeks were direct, and fired in plenty of free-kicks and corners. It was ironic that Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama handed Greece the victory."

  60. Twitter  

    From Robthebarman: "Greece showing us how to get the most from the Jubalani ball, peppering the Nigeria goal with shots and it's paid off!"

  61. 17:08 Commentary  

    Right, that's a wrap. Thanks for your company, and see you tomorrow morning. Jonathan Stevenson will take you through tonight's Group A game between Mexico and France, with Caroline Cheese setting the scene beforehand. Enjoy.

By Paul Fletcher, Bloemfontein

Greece came from behind to defeat Nigeria in a pulsating match that kept alive their hopes of qualifying from Group B.

It was the first victory for Greece at a World Cup and came after a contest that was completely transformed by the dismissal of Nigeria's Sani Kaita after 33 minutes.

Nigeria, who like Greece had lost their opening match in South Africa, had taken an early lead after Kalu Uche's free-kick from a wide area eluded everybody.

And the Super Eagles had a firm grip on the game until Kaita foolishly kicked out at Vasileios Torosidis after both players had briefly tangled as they tried to win the ball.

Greece coach Otto Rehhagel, who presided over his team's stunning victory at Euro 2004, quickly grasped the opportunity by adopting a more attacking formation and was rewarded with a crucial victory.

A deflected strike from Dimitrios Salpingidis drew his side level before Torosidis struck the winner after the break to severely dent Nigeria's hopes of progressing beyond the group stage.

The Super Eagles, who are managed by Swede Lars Lagerback, are pointless and play South Korea, who defeated Greece, in their final match.

Greece, who now have three points, take on an Argentina side that are on the brink of qualifying after winning their first two matches.

Rehhagel's team lined up with three central defenders, two full-backs and two deep sitting midfielders - and until the dismissal of Kaita after 34 minutes it seemed that their only attacking ploy was to try to win a set-piece in a dangerous area.

Skipper Georgios Karagounis delivered cross after cross after free-kick into the Nigeria area, with recalled defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos a frequent target.

It was stale, unimaginative and one-dimensional, while Nigeria showed glimpses of precise attacking play and deservedly took the lead.

Greece keeper Alexander Tzorvas clearly thought the unmarked Peter Odemwingie would make contact with Uche's cross but the Lokomotiv Moscow striker missed the ball, which continued on its trajectory before nestling in the far corner of the net.

There was little sign of a Greece comeback until the dismissal of Kaita, who appeared to be in tears as he made his way off the pitch.

Within minutes Rehhagel had replaced the defensive Sokratis Papastathopoulos with Celtic forward Georgios Samaras.

Greece were instantly transformed - and soon cut open a stunned Nigeria defence, with a deft lay-off from Konstantinos Katsouranis playing Salpingidis through only for Vincent Enyeama to block the striker's shot.

Lukman Haruna cleared an effort from Samaras off the line but, on the stroke of half-time, Greece scored their first ever goal at a World Cup through Salpingidis's deflected strike.

Lagerback tried to bolster his side by replacing Odemwingie with Chinedu Ogbuke Obasi at the start of the second half and playing two banks of four, with Yakubu as the lone striker.

But Greece continued to threaten, with an unmarked Karagounis wastefully heading wide and Kyrgiankos forcing a save from Enyeama.

Greece really should have scored through Theofanis Gekas after an awful header from Joseph Yobo gifted him a gilt-edged opening - but his shot was saved and Nigeria broke with devastating effect.

Ogbuke Obasi slipped the ball to Yakubu, who drew a brilliant one-handed save from Tzorvas. The rebound fell to Ogbuke Obasi, who contrived to miss a sensational opportunity to restore his team's lead.

It was a pulsating passage of play that was greatly appreciated by a far-from-full Free State Stadium - but it was hardly a fair reflection of how the match had developed.

Greece were in the ascendancy and although Enyeama palmed clear a header from Torosidis he was partially at fault for Greece's winner.

The keeper could not hold a low strike from Alexandros Tziolis, with Torosidis pouncing on the rebound to spark huge scenes of jubilation.

Enyeama made two decent saves in the remainder of the game, denying Karagounis and Tziolis, but Greece held on to end a sequence of four successive defeats at the World Cup.

Greece Greece Flag 2-1 Nigeria Flag Nigeria FT

(HT 1-1)

Salpingidis, 44
Torosidis, 71
Uche, 16






  • Venue: Free State stadium
  • Referee: O Ruiz
  • Attendance: 31,593
Greece     Nigeria
  • Possession 55%
  • Attempts on target 13
  • Attempts off target 11
  • Corners 11
  • Fouls 11

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

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