Monday, November 29, 1999

Nigeria target all-out victory against Greece

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Bloemfontein (South Africa), June 16 (DPA) Nigeria and Greece clash Thursday with each side knowing that failure to secure a first win at the World Cup would compromise their chances of making the knock-out phase.Nigeria's goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, sent a message to try to reassure the fans back home after his team's 0-1 loss to Argentina in their Group B opener.The encounter with the Greeks in Free State Stadium here would be a 'tough one,' the Hapoel Tel Aviv goalkeeper told Nigerian daily This Day.But 'there is no way we will lose, (and) getting a point will not be good enough,' Enyeama said.To achieve this Nigeria's Swedish coach Lars Lagerback has hinted he may shuffle his squad to find the right combination against Greece.'I can't rule out the possibility of a few changes,' Lagerback said.He was speaking at a press briefing at the Super Eagles base camp in Richard's Bay before the team's departure for Bloemfontein.A sure starter is Enyeama, whose exploits between the posts, including several stunning saves against Lionel Messi, helped to keep the scoreline down against Argentina.Wolfsburg striker Obafemi Martins and Osaze Odemwingie, who stars for Locomotiv Moscow, are likely to start the game.Obinna Nsofor, who played alongside Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni in a two-man strike force, failed to shine against Argentina and should lose his place to Martins, who showed more purpose when he replaced the Malaga striker early in the second half.After their loss to the Argentinians the Super Eagles still earned some praise for their display, mainly for those occasions when they tore open their South American opponent's midfield and defence.The Greeks must be seen as a much easier prey than the two-time World Cup champions.They have yet to score a single goal or earn a single point in the World Cup finals.The Greeks made their only other appearance in the tournament in the 1994 edition played in the United States, losing all three of their games, including a 0-2 defeat against Nigeria.The Euro 2004 champions coached by Otto Rehhagel were comprehensively beaten 0-2 by South Korea in their first match in South Africa.The loss triggered outrage in Greece with one newspaper suggesting the team should be brought home to spare the nation further blushes.Defender Vassili Torosidis gave a somewhat sombre assessment of Greece's chances against Nigeria.'To be honest, there can be no transformation in five days, not for any team,' he said.'What we need to be is very stubborn and to show this on the pitch. Even if we don't win, we won't be disappointed as long as we play well.'Going into the Bloemfontein game both teams have one yellow-carded player: Vasilios Torosidis for Greece and midfielder Lukman Haruma for Nigeria.

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