Nigeria look to Argentina for World Cup favour

BLOEMFONTEIN - Without a World Cup point from two matches, Nigeria must now turn to an unlikely ally to help boost their Group B qualifying chances - Argentina.

Thursday's 2-1 defeat to Greece at Bloemfontein's Free State stadium left Nigeria rock-bottom of their group, with Greece and South Korea on three points and Argentina on six with one round of matches to play.

That leaves the Super Eagles with a must-win South Korea showdown on June 22, with coach Lars Lagerback also hoping Greece lose to an Argentina side almost certain of reaching the knockout stages on the same day.

"The positive thing is that we still have a chance of qualifying, although we need a helping hand from Argentina," Lagerback told reporters.

"It is now up to the backroom staff together with the players to make sure that we go out and win against South Korea."

Luckily for Lagerback, his side, and one of Africa's great hopes for the tournament, are still in with a shout of advancing to the last 16.

Nigeria will fancy their chances against a South Korea team trounced 4-1 by Argentina on Thursday, while the South Americans look irresistible favourites against Greece -- even if they decide to rest a few players.

Even Greece coach Otto Rehhagel did not sound too convinced of his team's chances: "We are going to take on Argentina, a world class team, they will clearly be better than us and we have got to see how to cope with them," he told reporters.


Victory and a clean sheet will be Lagerback's main focus with Nigeria's goal difference at minus two - one more than both South Korea and Greece.

"If you look at the table it is not really bad, but we need a win," Nigeria's typically relaxed Nwankwo Kanu told reporters.

"We have to go all out and make sure that we win and then it depends on what happens between Argentina and Greece."

But for a foolish red card by midfielder Sani Kaita in Thursday's Greece defeat, Nigeria might not have had to become Argentina's latest fans.

With a 1-0 lead, the Super Eagles were in control until Kaita's 33rd minute dismissal for kicking out at an opponent galvanised Greece to a well deserved first ever World Cup victory.

Nigeria face South Korea in Durban, while Greece play Argentina in Polokwane.

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