World Cup Group B - Argentina, Greece, Korea and Nigeria
Diego Maradona has kept Argentina out of sight, or at least thought he had, since their arrival in South Africa on Saturday. But television crews and photographers found a gap in the cover at the University of Pretoria where Argentina are preparing for the finals, and managed to get shots of a practice that Maradona had barred them from attending.
Maradona, who had the gap closed once it was discovered, is not expected to open the doors to media until tomorrow.
The defensive tactics that helped Greece beat Ukraine in the World Cup playoffs last year are the key for the side to advance past the group stage, according to defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
“In every single game we have to play a very tactical game, we have to play smart,” the Serie A-based central defender told reporters at their training camp in Austria.
“We have shown we can play this sort of game very well. In the crucial games we have to have a very strong defensive tactic and we can always create chances up front.”
Greece stunned hosts Ukraine 1-0 in the second leg, scoring on a quick break, to send them through to the World Cup with a 1-0 aggregate win.
Nigeria named six players with World Cup experience on Monday in their final 23-man squad for this month’s tournament in South Africa.
Nwankwo Kanu will captain the side at his third World Cup, the Nigerian Football Federation said on Monday. Coach Lars Lagerback, who made his choice after just two games in charge, also included Rabiu Afolabi, Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, John Utaka and Joseph Yobo from the squad that took part in the 2002 finals.
The Swede cut Everton’s Victor Anichebe and winger Ike Uche, who was Nigeria’s top performer in the qualifiers, from his preliminary squad.
Both had recently returned from long-term injury and although they played in the warm-up games, officials said Lagerback had decided against taking any chances on their fitness. Also left out was Nice defender Onyekachi Apam, who had not been able to train over the last two weeks because of a knee injury.
But Lagerback did include Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, who has recently returned from knee surgery.