Greeks aim for 'match of their lives' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Greeks aim for 'match of their lives'

22/06/2010 07:39:12 AM Comments (0)

Greece coach Otto Rehhagel is urging his players to produce the "match of their lives" to get a result against Argentina and advance to the next round of the World Cup.

Rehhagel led Greece to a shock triumph at the 2004 European Championship but now wants an even bigger performance in the teams' final Group B match against the in-form South Americans.

"All our players must play the match of their lives and then maybe we have a chance," Rehhagel said Monday.

Greece must beat Argentina by a three-goal margin to be sure of reaching the round of 16. Any other result would leave Greece waiting on the result of the game between Nigeria and South Korea.

Rehhagel said Greece must find a way to compensate for Argentina's overwhelming talent.

"Argentina has incredible skills," Rehhagel said. "They have so many good players, it seems like talents grow on trees in Argentina.

"In Greece, on the contrary, we have to invest years into young players to bring them to a top-class level."

Argentina won its opening two games by outscoring its opponents 5-1 on aggregate and is all but guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament.

Coach Diego Maradona said he intended to leave captain Javier Mascherano and key strikers Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain out of the starting lineup. Argentina just needs a draw to advance from Group B.

"Can you imagine that?" Rehhagel said. "They left (Diego) Milito out for their first two games. He fired off Bayern Munich in the Champions League and now he's only a replacement."

Rehhagel said he expected his team to play "with the same excitement they showed after scoring against Nigeria. That's the spirit I want to see against Argentina."

The German coach called it "a giant game for us. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain."

Midfielder Kostas Katsouranis, who turned 31 on Monday, said the players were fully aware of the importance of the Argentina game.

"It's a historic game as we have a historic chance to advance at the World Cup," Katsouranis said. "I am sure we will play good football regardless of the result."

The Panathinaikos playmaker thinks there is no obvious recipe against Argentina's dazzling attack.

"It's not just (Lionel) Messi, it's their game as a whole," Katsouranis said. "One player cannot stop Messi, but as a team we probably can."

Katsouranis said it will be key for Greece to avoid individual mistakes like in the 2-0 loss against South Korea and in the early stages against Nigeria, when Greece conceded an early goal before scoring its first ever World Cup goals for a 2-1 win.

"It's important we don't lose our confidence if Argentina scores first," Katsouranis said. "The Nigeria game has shown us that we can turn around a match after falling behind."

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