Nigeria’s preparation for the Brazil 2014 Fifa World Cup will step up a notch when the Super Eagles take on the Greek national team in an international friendly in Pennsylvania, United States at the PPL Park, Chester 12 am tonight..
Coach Stephen Keshi has pruned down his 30-man squad to the final 23 that will wear Nigeria’s colours at the prestigious tournament.
It is expected that Keshi will use this game to test the core of his squad after reliables like John Obi Mikel, Vincent Enyeama and Kenneth Omeruo were left out of the 2-2 with Scotland at Craven Cottage last week.
Like the proverbial shepherd tending his flock, Keshi will look to lead his charges into the game to see how far the team have come and what he needs to do in time for Nigeria’s opening Group F fixture against Iran on June 16.
Greece are certainly no pushovers and they have continued in the same manner that saw them conquer Europe at Portugal 2004 where they stunned the World by adopting an ultra defensive formation principled by German coach, Otto Renhagel.
Coach Fernando Santos, will look to polish his wards as they also get set for the World Cup where they will face Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan in Group C.
The June 3 meeting with Greece will be the fourth time the Super Eagles will engage the Greek national team at senior level.
Nigeria edged Greece 2-0 in 1994 at the Foxboro Stadium, United States of America in her maiden World Cup appearance. Goals from now assistant coach, Daniel Amokachi and Finidi George gave Nigeria victory on the day.
Greece beat Nigeria 2-0 in a friendly international in November 1999 in Kilkis with Nikos Machlas scoring both goals. The last time the two teams met, Nigeria lost 2-1 to the Greeks at the Fifa World Cup in South Africa, where Sani Kaita got sent off as Greece rallied back from a goal down to beat Nigeria.
Nigeria played out a gritty 2-2 draw with Scotland at Fulham’s Craven Cottage where the Super Eagles had to come twice from behind to claim a late draw.
Keshi started the game with a second string side and must have seen enough for him to decipher what needs to be done to make his players as cohesive as he would want them to be.
Goals from Michael Uchebo and Uche Nwofor late on salvaged a draw for the Super Eagles. The team were brilliant in patches and Keshi will surely want a wholesome consistent game from his players when they play Greece.
Santos’ wards played out a goalless draw with Portugal last Sunday in an international friendly towards the World Cup.
Greece did not create enough to trouble the Portuguese who rested Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid defender Pepe.
Santos went with a lone striker upfront as Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglou struggled to get into the game and made minimal impact in the game. Surely the Portuguese coach will look to re-invigorate his team to be more offensive in the game against Nigeria.