worldcup 2010


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Argentina Target for 3 games Wins, at World Cup

POLOKWANE, Jun 21: Argentina could become the first team at the World Cup to wrap up three victories if it defeats Greece on Tuesday - though a draw would be enough for the twice world champions to advance to the last 16 as Group B winners, reports AP.
Coach Diego Maradona’s team has so far underlined its status as one of the tournament’s biggest favorites, scoring an aggregate 5-1 goal difference.
”We can all be happy,” Maradona said. “Two games, two wins - and the way we achieved them.”
Greece might need a helping hand from Nigeria if it is to advance - unless it earns an unlikely three-goal margin victory over Argentina.
Greece could scape through on a smaller win or even a draw, but it then depends on a still pointless Nigeria to get a favorable result against South Korea at a simultaneous game in Durban.
The 2004 European champions lost their opening game 2-0 to South Korea, then rallied to beat Nigeria 2-1 for their first ever World Cup win, points and goals. They’re now hoping to keep their momentum going.
”For sure, the team can do better and can show more on the pitch,” defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos said. “We will be freer to play, because the game against Nigeria was like a final ... We are very relaxed after the win, and in my opinion this will help us a lot.”
Forward Pantelis Kapetanos called all the Argentina players ”exceptional,” but believed Greece has a chance of beating them.
”It’s also up to us. If we play well, we can make it,” Kapetanos said. “If we stay concentrated for the entire 90 minutes, I believe the match can be won.”
Kapetanos acknowlegded the depth of the Argentina squad, saying ”they have 22 fantastic players and (Lionel) Messi, who is one step higher in quality - the best player in the world.”
Greece was expected to rely on its well-known defensive tactics to stop the opponent’s dazzling attack featuring Messi, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain, who had a hattrick in Argentina’s 4-1 demolition of South Korea on Thursday.
Coach Otto Rehhagel will have defender Vasilis Torosidis and captain Giorgos Karagounis at his disposal as both players resumed normal training Sunday after suffering knocks in the Nigeria game.
However, defender Avraam Papadopoulos skipped Sunday’s practice session and trained on the sidelines as a precaution.
Argentina isn’t completely free of injury troubles either as defender Walter Samuel is doubtful after picking up a thigh injury and being replaced after 22 minutes into the South Korea game.
”Luckily it’s not a muscle tear so that’s good and I hope to return as soon as possible,” Samuel said. “I’d like to be ready for the next match, but there is no deadline.”
Midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron was kept sidelined in the same game after suffering a right-calf injury during the team’s 1-0 win over Nigeria.
Jonas Gutierrez - a midfielder who is used by Maradona as a right wing defender - is certain to miss the Greece match after being shown yellow cards in each of the first two games.
Maradona faces no problems up front. Higuain was mainly invisible in Argentina’s opener but ended speculation about a possible replacement by Inter Milan striker Diego Milito as he hit the target three times against South Korea.
Tuesday’s game will be a rematch of their encounter at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, when Maradona scored to help Argentina beat Greece 4-0. It was Maradona’s 34th and last goal for the national team.
Another victory over Greece at Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium will see Argentina taking its next step toward claiming its first international title since winning the Copa America in 1993.

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