NIGERIA'S WINGLESS EAGLES, REVIEW OF GROUP B FIRST ROUND
Physically, mentally, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally and professionally; Nigeria's Super Eagles failed to make a difference throughout their stint in the 2010 FIFA World Cup championship in South Africa. The root-cause of the abysmal failure of the team in South Africa is an incompetent of Coach, Lars Lagerback. The Eagles' appearance in South Africa lacked flight, courage, bravery, motivation, push and were never driven.
And these tail-tail ominous warnings were flashing red everywhere, except that most Nigerians would rather wait and see a person dead before they know that such person is dying or is about to die. Or what does it take for any discerning analytical mind to read the trajectory of the Eagles in South Africa 2010 World Cup as they exuded an ill-prepared and ill-motivated side, just playing for the heck of participation in the first ever World Cup to be held in mother Africa.
After their first match with Lionel Messi' s Argentina, it was glaring that the mission portends a journey to no where; then came the second match with the Greeks and it became a fait accompli that the Eagles were going no where from the preliminary rounds.
A group of men who have no fire in their belly, no hunger in their stomach, no thirst in their throat, no swift in their legs, no speed in their brain, no drive in their system, no passion in their hearts to win or participate honourably in the first African hosted South Africa World Cup 2010.
But special commendation should go to the man of the match, Kalu Uche for the opening goal and for all the effort he made throughout the game, including the kick that struck the goal-post. Also deserving mention is the captain of the team, Kanu Nwankwo, who was never allowed prior to this game, to captain his team in the World Cup. Admitted he was not the silver bullet Nigeria expected, but hey, at least, he for once led his soldiers into battle against the South Koreans. That Yakubu Aiyegbeni missed a golden opportunity inside 2-yards in front of a yawning goal mouth with a displaced goalkeeper waiting to retrieve the ball from inside the net was also beyond pale. Added to all these is the red-carded man of the Nigerian side, Sani Kaita, who is being wrongly blamed for the defeat suffered by Nigerians in the hands of the Greeks.
Of course, Coach Lars Lagerback deserves the front page banner for being the incompetent coach who led Nigerians to their worst international football outing ever. He should be immediately fired since he deserves nothing less. It is also instructive that unlike South Africa, who also crashed out but not after defeating the French, a former World Cup champions; Nigeria did not record any victory throughout their stay in the competition. Lastly, the amateurish performances of African countries in the tournament also debunked the myth of African juju, and questioned the efficacy of voodoo as both Ivory Coast and Cameroon, noted African science practitioners, were both roundly defeated Another myth buster of the tournament is that 10 players are not as good as 11 players in a team, as the French scored their 1-goal with 10 men and the Australians held back charging Argentines with 10 men only; but for defeated Nigeria, Sani Kaita's red card is all to blame for their downfall. Talk about making excuses!
Group B of the 2010 FIFA World Cup saw the giants of South America Argentina, the former European Champions Greece, South
Korea, and Nigeria drawn in the same group.
While the winner of the group seemed to be fairly predictable, who would qualify along with them was less so.
The first round of group games saw Argentina take on Nigeria, and Greece the South Koreans. Argentina set their stall out in this group with an opening game win against the Africans. In the end, a Heinze header was enough to down the Nigerians, but in truth, Argentina could have won the game by more. Argentina star, Messi was impressive in this game, but could not do enough to get on the score-sheet. In the other group game it was the Koreans, who held all the aces as they ran out 2-0 winners against Greece in what was a significant victory.
Still, despite the defeat to the Koreans, the Greece were far from out of the 2010 World Cup and against the Nigerians, they had a chance to get right back in the group. However, the Super Eagles started more brightly, and even took the lead through Uche. The sending off of Kaita changed the game, as Greece went on to equalize and then took the lead in the second half. The game ended 2-1 to Greece, and was their first ever World Cup win.
In the other group B game, Argentina turned on the style against the Koreans. In the first half, they went two goals up, only for the Koreans to pull one back. However, while the Koreans briefly got back into the game, a third Argentina goal sealed the win. Then, a fourth goal for Argentina, and hat-trick for Higuain, put the gloss on the scoreline as Argentina went clear at the top of the group.
As such, the final round of the group left the table with Argentina on six points, the Koreans and Greeks on 3 points, and the Nigerians on 0 points. Mathematically, all the teams could potentially still qualify for the 2nd round. Undoubtedly, Greece had the hardest game against Argentina and in the event did precious little to win the game. The Greeks sat back and defended for most of the game, while Argentina had most of the possession. In the end, a breakthrough came in the last 15 minutes of the game as Argentina scored twice to seal a 2-0 victory. With nine points from the group, they were clearly the best team.
Who would finish behind them was less clear as the Koreans took on the Nigerians. The Nigerians gave themselves a chance when they went one goal up, only for the Koreans to equalize. In the second half, they would go 2-1 in front to put themselves in position to qualify for the 2nd round. However, a Nigerian equalizer kept the game close until the end but it was not enough for the Africans to qualify.
Therefore, the group ended with Argentina top with nine points overall. Behind them were the Koreans who gained 4 points, Greece on 3 points, and Nigeria in 4th spot with one point. Overall, there can be little doubt that Argentina were the best team of the group, and will play Mexico in the second round. While the rest of the group remained open the Koreans took advantage to book their place in the 2nd round also.