Argentina’s 2-0 win over Greece eliminated the Greeks from the 2010 World Cup, affirming first place in Group B and a Round of 16 match with Mexico along the way.
Late goals by Martin Demichelis and Martin Palermo gave Argentina three points and a perfect record in group play, outscoring their opponents 7-1 along the way. Today’s result came despite seven lineup chances from Diego Maradona, changes that saw Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Burdisso, Clemente Rodriguez, Diego Milito, Mario Bolatti and Kun Aguero get their first starts of the tournament.
But beyond the Argentine dominance, the story was Greece unwillingness to go for a win, seemingly relying on obtaining a draw and hoping South Korea did not get a point from Nigeria. South Korea did get a point from Nigeria and was favored to do so coming into the match. So what was Greece thinking?
The Greeks came out in a 5-4-1 and didn’t make any chances at halftime. They finished the match with on 19 percent of possession, but out-shot 10-3. Hinting at the Greeks’ lack of aggression, Greece forced only one corner kick and was never called offside.
As a result, Greece earns their own clean sheet their 2-0 loss leaving them one point behind South Korea, seemingly never willing to try for the win they needed to advance.
Form the Sports Blogs Nation Soccer desk, condolences to fans of the Greece national team. Your side get to this point by playing a conservative style that relies on opportunism, but even if being more aggressive does not fit Otto Rehhagel’s normal approach, today it seemed he had no choice.
He showed us. He made a choice, and he chose to stay conservative. Perhaps Greece would have gone home even if they tried, but at least that clause could have been written without that rueful word: “Perhaps.”