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Eagles ready to soar against Greece

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will make up for their opening loss to Argentina and beat Greece in their next game at the World Cup, coach Lars Lagerback said on Sunday.

Nigeria created many chances but were unable to cancel out Gabriel Heinze’s sixth-minute header off a corner in Argentina’s 1-0 win at Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday.

While the uninhibited Africans had their moments against the twice world champions, 2004 European champions Greece were dismal in a 2-0 opening loss to South Korea in the other Group B match on Saturday.

Nigeria, who have now gone five defeats and a draw since their last win at the World Cup in 1998, take on Greece in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

“It’s not good to lose your opening game in a tournament and Greece have also lost a game, so it’s the same situation for both of us,” the experienced 61-year-old Lagerback said.

“I know that my Super Eagles players will handle this situation very well so from my point of view I am very positive going into the next game. It doesn’t matter if Greece had lost or won.

“It’s very important for us now to go in to the next game and win it,” added Lagerback, who for nine years was in charge of the Swedish national side.

With Argentina taking on South Korea in Johannesburg’s Soccer City on the same day a defeat for either Nigeria or Greece could effectively see them exit the tournament.

Wolfsburg forward Obafemi Martins, who came on as a second-half substitution, said beating Greece was vital.
“The match against Greece is so important now because we simply have to pick up three points. We’re still in with a good chance,” he said.

Although the Nigerians lost, there was widespread praise for the stunning goalkeeping of Israel-based Vincent Enyeama, who pipped Argentine superstar Lionel Messi for official man-of-the-match honours.

Enyeama stared down the creative Argentines, making six fine saves, four of them from the world’s best player Messi, and almost helped Nigeria to pull off a fighting draw against the two-time world champions.

“It was a great night for me and to play against a team like Argentina was a fantastic opportunity for everyone,” Enyeama said.“And I’m proud of the way we responded to their early goal.”


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