Football / World Cup USA '94: Greeks' forlorn hope

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ANOTHER embarrassment is in prospect when the beleaguered Greek team face Nigeria in their final World Cup group D game in Boston today.

Greece, playing in their first World Cup finals, are still without a point after 4-0 defeats to both Argentina and Bulgaria. They are almost certainly out of the tournament but are clinging to the slimmest of mathematical chances of a second-round place.

The strong Nigerian forwards look too fast and skilful for the porous Greek defence, while the European side have not shown a tactical sophistication that could counter the Africans in the way that Argentina did when beating Nigeria 2-1 on Saturday.

More realistically, the Greek coach, Alketas Panagoulias, is hoping for a better performance and at least one point.

'We are going for the best possible performance with the best possible line-up to have a decent game and get a tie maybe that would be (Greece's) first golden point of the World Cup,' Panagoulias said.

Two Nigerian defenders are injury doubts - Augustine Eguavoen and Ben Iroha - so Stephen Keshi may gain his first start at the finals, as might the Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder, Austin Okocha.

Only a heavy defeat could jeopardise the Nigerians' chances of going through. They have three points from their 3-0 win over Bulgaria and a superior goal difference puts them in second place.

Clemens Westerhof, their Dutch coach, said: 'We can't take Greece lightly, because it will be their last chance to win a match. We must go and beat them.'

NIGERIA (probable): Rufai (Go Ahead Eagles); Keshi (no club), Nwanu (Anderlecht), Okechukwu (Fenerbahce), Emenalo (RWD Molenbeek), Siasia (Nantes), Amokachi (Club Bruges), Okocha (Eintracht Frankfurt), Amunike (MSV Duisburg), George (Ajax), Yekini (Olympiakos).

GREECE (probable): Karkamanis (Aris Salonika); Apostolakis (Panathinaikos), Kalitzakis (Panathinaikos), Kolitsidakis (Panathinaikos), Karayannis (AEK Athens), Hantzidis (Olympiakos), Marangos (Panathinaikos), Nioplias (Panathinaikos), Kofidis (Aris Salonika), Saravakos (Panathinaikos), Machlas (OFI Crete).