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Greece 2-1 Nigeria World Cup 2010 Group B

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In the white-collar world especially, when someone blurts out the word “Nigeria”, the first and perhaps the only thing that comes into most of the people who hear it is the Advance-Fee Fraud (Nigerian 419 scam). For those laypersons out there, it is the infamous scam through e-mail in which it is not the correct occasion for me to explain fully but one thing for sure, it is something really negative about Nigeria. In this match against Greece, it was such a crucial match for Nigeria. Firstly, by beating Greece, they would have condemned Greece to go home early from World Cup 2010 and puts them in a  extreme play-off against the recently beaten South Korea to decide who gets into the last 16 of the competition. This is also crucial to shed the country’s bad images such as the one mentioned above and thus to project a positive image about the country to the whole world. There’s nothing better to convey such message as in a global event as big as the World Cup. As for Greece, they were a side condemned by all corners to be knocked out soon and severely beaten by Nigeria in this match, but fate has another say…

At the start of the match, Nigeria showed the world just that as they simply dominated over Greece thoroughly and Nigeria took the lead in just 15 minutes through Kalu Uche’s not so wonderful but effective free kick. They continued to dominate Greece to such an extent that it looked like it would be a massive thrashing in store for Greece. However, just like most of the Greek mythology stories out there, everything which seems glorious and powerful, will only face a really tragic and sadistic end (unless we read the kids version of the mythology, that is). At 32nd minute, for whatever reason it was, the Nigerian player S. Kaita suddenly kicked out a Greek player lightly on the touchline prior to a throw in. The Greek player was only too happy and fall down as if his thigh was shot by a magnum and the ref promptly sent Kaita off so shamefully. In my opinion, it wasn’t necessary at all for Kaita to do that no matter what. Never touch an opponent unnecessarily in a football match or you will pay a heavy price and let your team down. Furthermore, it’s not as if Nigeria was trailing in frustration, they were thoroughly dominated the match and they were a goal up, and on course to getting more goals scored and of course getting themselves on course to qualify to the last 16.

Greece’s manager Otto Rehhagel was too experienced not to let this opportunity to pass by and immediately put Georgios Samaras into the fray in an extremely attacking substitution and it worked wonders. The pathetic Greek team from the first match against South Korea as well as during the first 32 minutes of this match suddenly turned into a group of titans from Olympus. From this moment all the way to the end of the match, all they did was attack attack and attack. Although Vincent Enyeama, the Nigerian goalkeeper was heroic throughout the match, there’s only so much to do for one man to carry a whole nation alone, and he duly conceded at the 43rd minute and that’s the end of the half.

The second half got Nigeria even worse. In this half, anything that could go wrong, simply go wrong for Nigeria and it started at 53rd minute when one of their strongest defenders Taye Taiwo needed to be substituted as he was injured while Enyeama continued to rescue Nigeria time after time with stunning saves. But he again conceded a goal at the 70th minute. It was such an emotional sight. I really felt for Enyeama. I think he deserves so much more than such a humiliation like this. After this fateful goal, the other 9 players on the pitch seemed to had thrown in the towel and they simply hoped for the match to end sooner or later. To his credit Vincent Enyeama continued to have massive spirits in this game. He continued to have that sense of urgency, the belief that Nigeria could still rescue this game. This was shown when he eagerly requested for the ball from the ballboy so that he could promptly pass the ball for his team mates to score and rescue Nigeria’s World Cup campaign. The Greeks were attacking like Barcelona now, such that when Samaras dribbled past a few Nigerian players in Nigeria’s penalty box, I thought he was Messi who suddenly grows tall.

It was such a humiliating day for Nigeria now that they are 95% knocked out from the competition unless a mathematical miracle happens in which just like how the commentator put it, I won’t go into the details of the complex permutations and combinations, but Nigeria has very little hope of progressing, so little that they are as good as getting knocked out. No matter what, Vincent Enyeama is my choice for the man of the match award! Very well done Enyeama! See you in the UEFA Champions League, you deserve a big move now after two stunning performances against Argentina and now the Titan infused Greece.

As for Greece, congratulations for their first ever win in the World Cup finals, and unlike Nigeria, they might even go through from Group B if things turn out in their favor. If Nigeria and South Korea play out to a draw, and they beat an Argentina side which would surely put out a non full strength side as they have qualified to the last 16, they would turn from a World Cup no hopers to joining Argentina to qualify to the last 16 of the competition. It was such a memorable match… For Vincent Enyeama and for Greece. If I am a Nigerian editor, the headline which I would put up tomorrow would be “1 Stupid Eagle, 9 Ordinary Eagles and 1 Extraordinarily Super Eagle Vincent Enyeama!”

Written by cp

18/06/2010 at 00:32

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