Thursday, June 17, 2010
World Cup 2010 Game 19: Greece 2, Nigeria 1
Things can change in a hurry.
Greece was dead in the water having given up an early goal to Nigeria. Then Nigerian player Sani Kaita picked up a foolish red card forcing his team to play over half the match with 10 players. Kaita ran up to a Greek player on the sideline and shoved him out of bounds. When the Greek player gave him a little shove with the ball, Kaita gave him a kick with the cleats showing...an automatic red card. Greece scored the equalizer right before half time and then, despite some heroics by the Nigerian goal keeper the man advantage was too much.
Nigeria is not eliminated yet. They would have to beat South Korea by multiple goals and hope Argentina does the same to Greece. Still, Kaita will be regretting his scuffle for a long time. In many ways this World Cup has been more about errors so far than great plays. That will change as things move forward, but this error was as much mental as physical.
Greece is still a shade behind South Korea since the latter gets Nigeria in the last round robin game and Greece must play Argentina. That said, Argentina could be resting players having already gone through. (Mathematically they could still be eliminated but that would involve losing to Greece by maybe four goals and South Korea defeating Nigeria.) Second place in Group B is way up in the air.