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Jon Riley 16th Jun 2010 - 8:42

Another Greek tragedy unfolds in South Africa

Bloemfontein hosts this Group B clash where both teams know that a win is crucial if they are to stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Both Greece and Nigeria lost their opening group games so will see this fixture as the perfect opportunity to make amends and get some points on the board.

Greece went down 2-0 in their opening match against South Korea and it was not just the loss that hurt but the manner in which they were defeated. The Ethiniki were lacklustre throughout and couldn't cope with the Korean's pace and style.

Coach Otto Rehhagel was understandably angry with his side's performance, or lack of it, against the superior South Koreans and has issued a stark warning to his underperforming players.

This is Greece's second World Cup finals. In USA 1994 they lost all three games without scoring a goal. Unless they improve, and fast, this current Greek team will be heading back to Athens with a similarly shambolic record.

The Nigerians were defeated in their opening match by Argentina. The Super Eagles were thankful to the outstanding keeping of Vincent Enyeama who's early heroics single handedly kept Lionel Messi and co at bay.

However in the second half, coinciding with the introduction of former Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins, the Africans played much better. If it had not been for wasteful finishing in front of the Argentine net by Taye Taiwo and Kala Uche then Nigeria could have snatched an unlikely draw.

The match betting for this game sees Nigeria enlisted as early favourites at a price of 10/11. Greece's poor showing against the Koreans seems to have drained any confidence in the team. They can be backed at 10/3 to redeem themselves with a win at the Free State Stadium.

A draw wouldn't be beneficial to either team. We've seen quite a few stalemates so far in South Africa but this is a game in which neither team can afford to drop points. The draw is priced at 11/5.

I can't see this game being a high scoring affair but if you feel like a punt on the first scorer, which could be decisive, then we have a full list of players for you to choose from.

For Greece, their top scorer in qualifying Theofanis Gekas can be backed at 6/1 to open the scoring and 7/4 anytime. The Celtic striker Georgios Samaras is second favourite to break the deadlock for the 2004 European Champions at 7/1.

Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback will be sending his side out with a more attacking mindset than for the game with Argentina and the Swede will be looking to his strikers to fire in the goals.

Yakubu and Obafemi Martins are both 5/1 to open the scoring and identically 5/4 to notch anytime. Veteran striker Nwankwo Kanu could prove to be a supersub if he can come off the bench and score. He is 7/1 to score the last goal.

With Greece yet to score a goal at a World Cup finals it could be well worth looking at the clean sheet market, especially for Nigeria. The Super Eagles are 3/4 to keep a clean sheet while the Greeks are 2/1 to keep the Nigerian attack at bay for 90 minutes.

For this game I'm recommending the double result market of draw/Nigeria at 19/5. Greece will come into this game with a sever ticking off from their coach Rehhagel and will be determined to keep the game tight, especially across midfield. However, as the game draws on I can see Nigeria sneaking a goal to take the game.



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