Group B reaches it climax on Tuesday.....
Kick-Off: Tuesday, June 22, 20:30 CET.
Durban Stadium, Durban.
Durban Stadium, Durban.
Hoping Against Hope
Nigeria are an African footballing giant, but so far in the World Cup they have been largely disappointing. The Super Eagles lost their opening game in Group B 1-0 to Argentina and were clearly the second best side. In their second match against Greece, Lars Lagerback's side took the lead against Greece but, after going a man down, lost the match 2-1.
At the moment the Super Eagles are at the bottom of Group B with zero points from two matches. Only a win against South Korea on Tuesday would do any good to the Nigerians, but even then, they will have to depend on the result between Greece and Argentina. A draw or win for Greece would render Nigeria's result against the Koreans academic.
However, Nigeria will be looking to do something big against the Koreans. This is the first World Cup on African soil and with most African nations disappointing, many Africans will be looking towards Nigeria for inspiration.
Last 16 Qualification
South Korea started their World Cup in a very encouraging way as they defeated Greece 2-0 in their opening game of Group B. The Koreans were superior in that game and captain Park Ji-Sung scored a brilliant second goal.
However, in their second game the Koreans were brought back to earth as World Cup favourites Argentina trounced them 4-1, with Lionel Messi performing the way he does for his club side Barcelona and Gonzalo Higuain netting a very encouraging hat-trick. That defeat combined with Greece's 2-1 comeback victory over Nigeria means that South Korea's qualification chances are in the balance.
South Korea are currently second in Group B with three points from two matches. However, they will have to win to make sure of qualification as in the other game on Tuesday in the group, Greece take on Argentina. A draw will still be enough for the Koreans to go through provided Greece lose to the South American giants.
June 17: Greece 2-1 Nigeria (World Cup)
June 12: Argentina 1-0 Nigeria (World Cup)
June 6: Nigeria 3-1 North Korea (Friendly)
May 30: Nigeria 1-1 Colombia (Friendly)
May 25: Nigeria 0-0 Saudi Arabia (Friendly)
June 17: Argentina 4-1 South Korea (World Cup)
June 12: South Korea 2-0 Greece (World Cup)
June 3: Spain 1-0 South Korea (Friendly)
May 30: South Korea 0-1 Belarus (Friendly)
May 24: Japan 0-2 South Korea (Friendly)
Sani Kaita is suspended for Nigeria after seeing red against Greece. Defenders Taye Taiwo and Elderson Echiejile may be available despite picking up minor injuries in that game.
Probable Line-up (4-4-2): Enyeama, Shittu, Odiah, Yobo, Taiwo; Odemwingie, Etuhu, Lukman, Obasi; Aiyegbeni, Martins,
Coach Huh Jung-Moo has no injury or suspension worries and will line up in a 4-4-2 formation.
Probable Line-up (4-4-2): Jung Sung-Ryong, Cha Du-Ri, Cho Yong-Hyung, Lee Jung-Soo, Lee Young-Pyo; Park Ji-Sung, Kim Jung-Woo, Ki Sung-Yong, Lee Chung-Yong; Park Chu-Young, Lee Dong-Guk
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)
The 27-year-old was the best Nigerian player against Argentina and was the best for the African side in the first half of their game against Greece too. However, Enyeama made a howler in the second half to gift-wrap a win to the Greeks in spite of saving the Super Eagles on other occasions. However, against an attack-minded Korean side, Enyeama will have to be on top of his game on Tuesday evening too.
Park Ji-Sung (South Korea)
The Manchester United midfielder was sensational against Greece in their opening game of the tournament and scored the second and final goal against the Europeans. Although Park Ji-Sung went missing in the game against Argentina, he will hunting for his best form against Nigeria on Tuesday evening. Park is Asia's most famous player and the Koreans' hopes will be on his shoulders.
The Castrol World Cup match predictor suggests a 34% chance of a Nigeria win, a 30% chance of a South Korea triumph and a 36% chance of a draw. However, Nigeria have a tough task ahead if they want to qualify and have lost both their games so far. The Koreans looked very good against Greece in their opening game of the tournament and they will be keen to win their second game at the World Cup by defeating Nigeria.
Nigeria 0-2 South Korea
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Who will come out on top? Check out Castrol Football's 2010 World Cup Match Predictor.