Top scorers Argentina out to scare rivals in Group B


Another emphatic, Diego Maradona-inspired World Cup win over Greece for Argentina today can send shivers down the spines of potential rivals in the knockout phase of the tournament.
Maradona scored his 34th and last goal for Argentina in a 4-0 rout of Greece at the 1994 World Cup, leading a side that started out looking a good bet for the title but who lost their way when he was kicked out of the US tournament for doping.
The Group B leaders face Greece, who have taken three points from two matches, in Polokwane at 8. 30pm.
Maradona has harboured revenge ever since that lost opportunity in 1994 to lay his hands again on the trophy he lifted gloriously in Mexico in 1986 and saw snatched from his tearful gaze four years later in the final in Italy.
Argentina are top scorers in South Africa with five after most sides have played two games and they will be looking to Lionel Messi, the new Maradona who owes himself some goals after a string of near misses, to help garner another haul.
But the suspension of wing-back Jonas Gutierrez and bookings for Gabriel Heinze and captain Javier Mascherano mean Maradona’s focus is also on defensive changes as he looks to clinch first place and stay near Johannesburg for the second round.
Senior midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron is fit to return after missing the 4-1 win over South Korea through injury having played in the 1-0 defeat of Nigeria in their opener.
Maradona had his three goalkeepers saving shots hit from outside the area on Sunday because Greece are among the teams who have attempted most attempts from distance so far.
Greece, who recovered from a 2-0 defeat by South Korea to beat Nigeria 2-1, will be looking for a result that helps them progress alongside the almost-qualified Argentines.
For that Greece need Nigeria to beat the Koreans in Durban. Greece and South Korea, who are also on three points, both have a minus one goal difference but Korea have scored one more.
Otto Rehhagel’s Greeks will have to conjure up the spirit of their shock Euro 2004 triumph to upset an Argentina side the German coach described as “a team of extraordinary quality”.
Greece fans are hoping Maradona makes wholesale changes to his team although he has been keeping Argentina’s reserves sharp in practice and they are not exactly short on talent with the likes of Diego Milito and Sergio Aguero waiting in the wings. —Reuters