Both Greece and Argentina had inspiring wins in their previous group matches, over Nigeria and South Korea, respectively.
The two teams will now meet in a group B match scheduled for Tuesday at Polokwane.
Greece would be hoping for Nigeria to win their match against South Korea, because, then, a draw against or Greece to qualify for the round of 16.
Argentina have virtually qualified, and have nothing to lose. Yet, they would aspire for a clean sweep of wins, and also use the opportunity to play some of their bench players.
But for the sending off of Sani Kaita by the referee in the Nigeria match, and theconsequent reduction of the African team to 10 men, Greece who were trailing at the time would have had no hope of staying in the World Cup, as they had lost their earlier match to South Korea.
Greek coach Otto Rehhagel seized the opportunity seeing Nigeria reduced to 10 men, and changed to an attacking game plan. Goals by Dimitrios Salpingidis and Vasilis Torosidis helped Greece to a 2-1 win.
Against Argentina, Greece are likely to revert to their customary defensive game plan, and hope to wear out the Argentine forwards, and get lucky with a set piece goal.
Argentina have been the silver lining in a World Cup in which most big teams have let the fans down. Higuain’s hat-trick was the icing on their cake as they downed South Korea, 4-1. Messi has been instrumental in most of the five goals scored in 2 matches, but the star midfielder has been unlucky in not getting a goal, himself.
Barring an unlikely situation in which Greece and South Korea win their last group matches by large margins, Argentina will go through to the round of 16, but would definitely try and win against Greece, setting any doubt at rest.
Theofanis Gekas is the key player for Greece in midfield, and the forwards will rely on him to neutralize the Argentine back line, and assist them with passes. His fight for midfield control with Javier Mascherano is likely to determine which way the match will go.
Lionel Messi is arguably the world’s best player, and he is bound to get back to his prolific goal scoring ways, sooner or later.
Greece are likely to start defensively, and look to soak up the pressure, before shifting to a more attacking gear, as the match wears on.
Maradona is likely to stick with his two strikers Tevez and Higuain, up front, with rear support from Messi.
After their loss to South Korea, Greek were down, and when they were a goal behind Nigeria, they were almost out. Their lease of life came from a stroke of luck that reduced the opposition to ten men. A full strength Argentina are a much tougher proposition than 10-man Nigeria. So it’s advantage Argentina.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.