Rehhagel plots to qualify
Greece boss to focus after first finals win
By Mike Barton. Last Updated: 17/06/10 7:01pm
Rehhagel: Delighted to win
Greece manager Otto Rehhagel spoke of his pride at seeing his team win their first ever game at a World Cup finals.
The 2004 European champions had lost in their previous four attempts to even get a point in the World Cup finals after coming back empty handed from the 1994 tournament in the USA and losing this year's opening game to South Korea 2-0.
It looked to be the same old story for Greece as Nigeria took the lead early on after poor defending from a set-piece, but they fought back with the aid of a sending off for Sani Kaita and poor goalkeeping by Vincent Enyeama to win 2-1.
Goals from Dimitris Salpingidis and Vasilis Torosidis were also Greece's first in their World Cup history, capitalising on the man advantage to give them a chance of making it through Group B to the last 16.
Rehhagel admitted he was delighted to see his team come out victorious, and that they were pleased to be leaving these finals with something to savour at the very least.
"It would have been a shame to go home without a point scored," he said.
"We were able to stand up against it and get the game under control.
"We have a very good team and I just try to do my best. We deserved to win because we worked really hard.
"They are an African team with a lot of strength with power and pace. We pushed ourselves to the limit.
"This is a good moment for us. I never feel pressure. I am positive about football, every single day, every single minute.
"We want to enjoy it but there is not time for celebration."
The veteran German coach now faces his toughest task yet as they must take at least a point from Argentina, who demolished South Korea 4-1 to qualify from their group.
There is a chance that Argentine coach Diego Maradona may field his second string, despite them being arguably as strong as his first team, but Rehhagel insisted they could take points off the competition's joint favourites and make it to the second round.
"We are going to take on Argentina, a world-class team. They will clearly be better than us and we have got to see how to cope with them," Rehhagel added.
"We all know the Argentine team is of extraordinary quality."
Goalscorer Salpingidis was also positive following his equaliser for his side, insisting that they can take a lot from the tournament, even if they fail to make it through.
"We badly wanted this, because we'd never even scored a goal in the World Cup before," Salpingidis said.
"I can't say whether we'll make it out the group. But I can say that we'll leave with our heads held high."