Greeks not worried about scoring

Greece
refuses to be spooked by its lack of goals in the World Cup.

A
2-0 loss to South Korea in its World Cup opener Saturday extended Greece’s
scoreless drought to four games. Greece didn’t score in 1994, its only other
appearance, conceding 10 goals in three straight defeats. Striker Dimitris
Salpigidis, one of the players Greece needs to score, is optimistic.

“We
had a bad day and we shouldn’t dwell on it,” Salpigidis said. “You can’t keep
recycling negative comments that just pulls you down even more. Sure, there is
a negative record. But you can’t think about that. Statistics are there to be
overturned but they should not affect the way you play.”

The
Greeks play Nigeria in Bloemfontein on Thursday, before facing Argentina on
June 22 in their final Group B match. Salpigidis, of Greek champion
Panathinaikos, will be up against Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeam whose
exceptional form limited Argentina to a 1-0 win in their opening match.

Popular
coach Otto Rehhagel faced rare criticism in Greece after the loss to South
Korea, mainly for tinkering with selection and benching Liverpool defender
Sotiris Kyrgiakos. Reserve goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis said expectations at
home have remained high since Greece’s stunning win at the European
championships in 2004.

“We
must be realistic. We are upset but we did not suffer a catastrophe,” Sifakis
said.

He
hinted that Greece would revert to its trusted highly defensive tactics against
the Africans, despite both teams needing to win. South Korea and Argentina are
tied atop Group B.

“Teams
must have a strong defensive capability in modern football. All the players
must work to shut down spaces — that’s not only a job for individual players or
the defense alone,” Sifakis said. “With the Nigerians, we will try and keep
their players away from our goal.”

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