Greece vowed to keep it simple in their last FIFA World Cup™ Group B match against Argentina after their 2-1 victory over Nigeria that rekindled their hopes of a spot in the second round. Coming into Thursday's match against Nigeria, the UEFA EURO 2004 winners had never won a match - or scored a goal - in a FIFA World Cup finals, finishing pointless in their only other appearance, in the United States in 1994.
They started their campaign in South Africa with a 2-0 defeat to South Korea and their hopes hung by a thread when trailing Nigeria 1-0 before a red card for Nigerian Sani Kaita changed the match. The Greeks came back to win the clash 2-1 after a goal late in the first half by Dimitrios Salpingidis and a second-half winner from Vasilios Torosidis.
"Argentina are one of the favourites to win this tournament with some of the best players," said Salpingidis. "So what we must do is just play football, 11 against 11. It's as simple as that."
Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 in their opening game and thrashed South Korea 4-1 to take their group tally to six points, but Torosidis said the South Americans would not let up just because they had already secured six points. "Argentina won't be complacent," he said. "If I was a player for ArgenGretina I wouldn't be indifferent. You go onto the pitch to peform. No one goes into a game not wanting to win."
Panathinaikos striker Dimitris Salpingidis said the Greek camp had received a massive boost from the victory over the Nigerians. "We're all really happy and the atmosphere is fantastic," he said, adding that Greece had upped their game since their disappointing opening 2-0 loss to South Korea.
"Certainly, the way we played against Nigeria was completely different from our first game. You have to expect to have good and bad days. We didn't play well in the first game but we had a chance of getting a goal. It was much improved in the second match, especially after the Nigerian player was shown red."
Torosidis added that the Greek side had thrived on their own self-belief and were ready to move on a further step. "It's just a matter of your frame of mind," he said. "We believed we could do it and we did. We could have lost against Nigeria and already been on holiday."