Not only is the match between Nigeria and South Korea crucial for both sides involved, the outcome in this match will also heavily impact another Group B side in Greece. The Greeks will combat the Argentineans while the Nigerians will take on the Koreans.
South Korea will hold the upper hand heading into the final day of Group B action, as they possess a superior goal differential to the Greek counterparts. That said, the Nigerians still have an outside shot at qualifying, and despite being winless, remain a dangerous squad capable of beating most teams.
They will feel especially bitter following their loss to Greece, which saw them control the play in the early going, but a premature red card completely swung the match’s momentum. For the Nigerians to advance, they will have to hope Greece fails to pick up any points against Argentina, and they’ll have to defeat South Korea in convincing fashion. A daunting task indeed, yet in a tournament where improbable has become probable, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.
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Nigeria vs South Korea Odds:
South Korea (+152)
Keys to the Game:
Since there is another game of massive importance occurring at the same time as this fixture, the Nigerians and Koreans cannot worry about Greece’s performance. Instead, they must concentrate on what they’re in control of, and deliver a performance that assures advancement to the round of 16.
For Nigeria their theme for this game will be attacking football. Not only do they need to defeat South Korea, they’ll likely be forced to beat them by a margin of two goals. Although it does seem somewhat possible, the Super Eagles would be making history if they could qualify past the group stages, as no team in World Cup history has advanced having lost two of three group matches. They will be assisted in this daunting feat by the return of star striker Obafemi Martins, and their attackers will have to outperform the solid back-line of South Korea in order to fill the net with goals.
Korea meanwhile will be focused on getting another three points against Nigeria. With the uncertainty of Greece’s performance against Argentina, the good thing for Korea is that they do control their own destiny. A win against the Nigerians, and they will likely move on to the second round, to face either Mexico or Uruguay. Korean midfielder Kim Jung Woo has vowed for his side to play to win amid claims that his side will play cautiously and simply hope for a draw. No real changes for the Koreans, as they will lineup in their typical 4-4-2 formation, and although a tie game should advance them, a win would assure it. Expect Korea to play attacking football.
What to Expect:
Rumors have run rampant emanating from the Nigerian clubhouse as in0fighting and arguing was heard from their dressing room following the Greece game. Joseph Yobo of Nigeria admitted they believed their World Cup was over following that disappoint loss, but are anxious to get their second chance. Although the strength of both of these teams is their staunch defense, both are looking to win the game. And in the case of the Eagles of Nigeria, they’d need to win big in order to advance to the round of 16. Nigeria will be without midfielder Sani Kaita who received the red card against Greece, and are battling injuries to some of their defenders as well.
At the moment, Nigeria’s squad appears to be disarray. They’ve received nothing from a so-called home-continent advantage, yet that could change when they take on Korea in Durban. Durban is home to many ethnic Nigerians in South Africa, and they will be in full support of their beloved Super Eagles. Heading into the game it would appear that South Korea has the upper-hand, but Nigeria do remain the better squad that has yet to play to their full potential. Expect an explosive last-ditch effort from the Nigerians in Durban.
Nigeria vs South Korea Prediction: Nigeria 2 – South Korea 1
Although this result would vault Nigeria ahead of South Korea, they’ll need to pray for a fortunate outcome in the Greece/Argentina game. Unfortunately for the Super Eagles, expect a hard-working Greek side to pick up a point against Argentina, pushing them into the second round. At the moment, Greece to advance is +350 and is worth taking a look at.
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