Greece vs. Nigeria 2010: A Historic First for Greece

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Greece vs. Nigeria 2010: A Historic First for Greece
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

When Nigeria scored on a free kick after 16 minutes the only thing I thought was here we go again. All that changed when Sani Keita was given a red card for a deliberate kick at Vasilis Torosidis in the 33rd minute. From then on Greece showed what they were all about and earned a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in Bloemfontein.

Over 31,000 fans watched history when Dimitri Salpagidis scored Greece's first World Cup goal off a deflection off Lukman Haruna to level the score at 1-1.

The goal was set up by a clever back pass from Kostas Katsouranis to a wide open Salpagidis who just missed leveling the score four minutes earlier after a tremendous save by Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

Knowing that a loss will eliminate them from advancing, the Greeks continued to press for the lead only to be denyied again by Enyeama. The Gods must have been smiling down on Greece because in the 58th minute after Chinedu Ogbuke shot wide on an open Greek net after Alexader Tzorvas blocked a Yakubu Aiyegbeni shot, the ball bounced right to Ogbuke who whiffed. The miscue would eventually cost Nigeria.

Catching a reprieve, Greece went back to the attack and again were stopped by the Nigerian keeper. First a Georgios Samaras header was pushed away in the 68th minute and Theofanis Gekas shot was blocked.  Not giving up Greece finally got the go ahead goal after Alexander Tziolis shot was mishandled by Enyeama and Vasilis Torosidis jumped on the loose ball and slotted it right into the net.  It gave Greece their first lead and was the reward after pounding the Nigerian net for 60 minutes.

After much criticism in game one vs South Korea, coach Otto Rehhegal made the move that jump started Greece in the World Cup.

After Nigeria went down to ten men, Rehhegal quickly introduced Georgios Samaras into the game and taking out Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The move allowed for more attacking and it worked. The normally defensive minded coach went on the offensive which gave the team a new life. Greece totaled 27 shots, 13 of them finding the goal.

The victory gives the Greeks three points and keeps them alive before the last game in Group B play against Argenitna on Tuesday. Argentina is in first place with six points but still hasn't clinched a spot in the knockout round. While a draw will get Argentina through it will only do so for Greece is Nigeria beats South Korea. With so much to be decided on Tuesday anything can happen.

 

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