Greece wins for first time in World Cup, beats Nigeria 2-1
BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa - Now that Greece has scored a goal and won a match, this World Cup is a success.
The Greeks claimed their first World Cup win by rallying to beat 10-man Nigeria 2-1 in Group B on Thursday. Vassilis Torosidis poked home a loose ball in the 71st minute after a mistake from Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to make history for Greece, which had lost all four previous World Cup matches, including three in 1994.
"We badly wanted this, because we'd never even scored a goal in the World Cup before," Dimitris Salpingidis said. "I can't say whether we'll make it out of the group. But I can say that we'll leave with our heads held high." To advance to the second round, the Greeks almost certainly must get at least a draw with powerful Argentina on Tuesday; the Argentines routed South Korea 4-1 Thursday and the Koreans took Greece 2-0 earlier in the tournament.
So they are reveling in this victory.
"Of course it would have been a shame to go home without a point, so we're very pleased to have scored points here," Greece coach Otto Rehhagel said.
Nigeria opened the scoring in the 16th minute at Free State Stadium when Kalu Uche's curling free kick from 35 yards deceived everyone, particularly goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas, who moved the wrong way.
But the game changed in the 33rd minute when Nigeria midfielder Sani Kaita was shown a straight red card for kicking Torosidis.
Salpingidis equalized in the 44th minute with a deflected shot before Torosidis' winner.