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Nigeria vs South Korea – Fine balance will tip Asians’ way

| 22.06.2010

The final round of World Cup group games always throws up some interesting permutations, and 2010’s Group B is particularly complex with either Nigeria or South Korea capable of reaching the round of 16. Their match kicks off at 7.30pm.

Despite being pointless after two games a win by any margin for Nigeria (an 8/5 chance) would be enough to see them progress at the expense of South Korea and Greece if the latter loses to Argentina.

South Korea meanwhile should qualify with a draw (23/10) but would need all three points if the Greeks pulled off an unlikely shock (South Korea to win is 8/5).

This is the context that needs to be addressed when placing any bet on the match between the 2002 semi-finalists, ranked a surprisingly low 47th in the world, and the Super Eagles, flying high in 21st place.

South Korea boss Huh Jung Moo has said he may recall Ahn Jung Hwan, even though not fully fit. The 34-year-old striker scored his nation’s goal in the sudden-death victory over Italy at the 2002 World Cup and his manager reckons the player could have a similar impact from the subs bench here. He’s 8/1 to score last here.

Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback has not ruled out using his own veteran forward in the shape of Nwankwo Kanu, he’s 9/1 to score first. The 33-year-old Portsmouth man has scored 13 times for his country and, with Obafemi Martins (6/1) and Aiyegbeni Yakubu (6/1) so far failing to notch, could be turned to for vital experience.

South Korea looked assured in gliding past a limited Greece side 2-0 and it could have been a similar story for Nigeira had Sani Kaita not had his moment of madness with his side 1-0 up.

Despite conflicting scores against the Europeans, these are two very evenly matched teams and goals could be tight as a result. Under 2.5 total goals is 8/13.

South Korea have a decent record against African opposition having beaten Ivory Coast 2-0 in March and Togo 2-1 at the 2006 World Cup.

Nigeria beat their Asian neighbours North Korea 3-1 in a warm-up game and drew with Saudi Arabia in May.

A draw seems likeliest with cool-headed South Korea taking the lead only to be pegged back by a desperate Nigeria. 1-1 is 5/1.

Will we see a last-gasp progression for the Super Eagles at the expense of their opponents? Nigeria are 9/1 to win 2-1. See the full Nigeria v South Korea match betting market.



John Klee