Greece vs Nigeria – Super Eagles can compound Greek misery
Both sides lost their opening matches, though it was Nigeria who showed the most encouraging form in their 1-0 defeat to Argentina, while Greece insipidly surrendered 2-0 to South Korea.
Otto Rehhagel’s side never truly threatened their South Korean opponents, and the Euro 2004 champions will be worried by their attacking deficiencies.
Indeed, Greece only have two goals from their last four fixtures, and goals could again be at a premium for them against a Nigeria side who have conceded just three in their last five matches.
The last time the two sides met at a World Cup (USA 1994), Nigeria were 2-0 victors, and the Super Eagles are 7/1 to win by the same scoreline this time.
Greece’s ageing, somewhat immobile midfield could struggle against Nigeria’s quick wide players, such as Marseille’s left-back Taye Taiwo, whose long-range shooting and set-pieces make him a tempting bet to score first at 18/1.
Yakubu Aiyegbeni is the 5/1 favourite to open the scoring, and the Everton striker could be joined in attack by Obafemi Martins.
Wolfsburg’s Martins looked lively when he came on against Argentina, and the jet-heeled former Newcastle man is an enticing 11/2 to score first.
Greece’s best hope of finding the net, meanwhile, could be Georgios Samaras, who is 10/1 to be the first goalscorer.
The Celtic striker scored 10 league goals this season, which is more than the combined domestic total of his fellow forwards Theofanis Gekas and Angelos Charisteas.
Such statistics suggest that Greece are unlikely to trouble a solid Nigerian defence, and Rehhagel’s side are convincingly evens to score under 0.5 goals.