x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Captain Yobo says Super Eagles are 'practically out'

Greece scored their first ever World Cup goals yesterday, against Nigeria, and with them their first victory after the match turned on a sending off.

BLOEMFONTEIN // Greece scored their first ever World Cup goals yesterday, against Nigeria, and with them their first victory after the match turned on a sending off. Nigeria, leading 1-0 thanks to Kalu Uche's free-kick, saw the combative Sani Kaita kick Vassilis Torosidis, the Greek midfielder, and receive a straight red in the 34th minute. "We were controlling the game before the sending off," Joseph Yobo, the Super Eagles captain, said. "It looks like even if we win the next one [game], we're not going to qualify, so practically we are out of the tournament."

Greece equalised a minute before half-time when Dimitris Salpingidis's shot deflected off Lukman Haruna and left Vincent Enyeama, the Nigeria keeper who was so impressive in their opening 1-0 defeat to Argentina, with no chance. Torosidis scored the winning goal in the 71st minute after Enyeama fumbled a low shot from Alexandros Tziolis. "We badly wanted this, because we'd never even scored a goal in the World Cup before," Salpingidis said. "I can't say whether we'll make it out the group. But I can say that we'll leave with our heads held high."

Greece's win was hailed by George Papandreou, the country's Prime Minister, who delayed a news conference at an EU summit in Brussels to watch the game. "The boys made us proud," Papandreou said. "At a time when Greece has had a lot of bad press recently [due to the debt crisis], I think it was a very important revival for all of us." The result almost certainly eliminates Nigeria. "We can make excuses," Yobo said, "but I thought that we should have done a bit better." * AP

Group B
Country M W D L GF GA Pts
Argentina 2 2 0 0 5 1 6
South Korea 2 1 0 1 3 4 3
Greece 2 1 0 1 2 3 3
Nigeria 2 0 0 2 1 3 0