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Millions of Nigerians Disappointed with Unexpected Loss at World Cup


Greece's Vassilis Torosidis elebrates after scoring during the World Cup group B soccer match between Greece and Nigeria at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 17 Jun 2010

Greece's Vassilis Torosidis elebrates after scoring during the World Cup group B soccer match between Greece and Nigeria at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 17 Jun 2010

It was another bad day for another African football team with Nigeria's super eagles falling to Greece for their second World Cup loss.

It was a case of hope raised and hope dumped for millions of Nigerians who helplessly watched their team battered by the rampaging Greeks. The superlative performance of the Eagles against the mighty Argentinians couldn't be repeated against Greece despite the early goal by Kalu Uche that gave Nigeria a 1-0 lead.

The hype and celebration greeting the first goal of the tournament for Nigeria was short lived with a red card on one of its midfielders Sani Kaita that changed the pattern of the game and the reaction among the flying fans of the eagles.

The 44th minute's free kick by Dimitros Salpingidis further sank the already gloomy spectators and hope faded with the first Greek win which came in the 71st minute of the game with a clinching goal by Vasileios Torosidis.

Anger and frustration took over the faces of the fans who see the second consecutive loss as ridiculous. Vincent Okumola is a journalist working for the Nations Newspapers here in Abuja:

"Well it is a shame and painful actually, very very painful because this is a match we had under control initially, but for our carelessness and I don't know I can't really explain what got the other guy the number 14, Sani Kaita why he had to play such a game or had to react that way," said Vincent Okumola.

If shame and disappointment are in the face of Okumola, the loss is even more shocking to take for another fan Vincent Sani.

"In fact I am terribly disturbed and disappointed," said Vincent Sani. "The shock of the red card was overwhelming and that caused us a lot of mess. In fact I am disturbed I don't know what to say again."

Despite the shock which pervades the sporting atmosphere in Abuja and virtually all other cities and villages of the football loving Nigeria, some want to learn lessons from the defeat and blame the team's performance on lack of adequate preparations.

Horatious Egua watched the two games of the super eagles, and thinks Nigeria should stop dreaming of the elitist second round.

"The question is right at the moment I don't even believe we should not be talking about a second round or whatever," said Horatious Egua. "What we should be talking about is consolidating a team that will carry us out of where we are at the moment, because the way we are we don't have a team."

Nigeria is still hoping for a miracle in which the leader of Group B, Argentina, defeats Greece by a wide goal margin and the super eagles defeat South Korea to qualify for the next round. To Mustapha Mohd, that sounds more like a Hollywood movie.

"HM! Hm! Hm! Well you know, like Don Williams says, Superman and Robin Hood are alive in Hollywood but in the World Cup you have to be a realistic person and work hard, play hard and win the tournament," he said.

Nigeria plays, what could be, its last match of the tournament against South Korea this coming Tuesday.

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