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By Angelo Tsingerliotis/Contributor American Soccer Show
Since scoring just one goal in Euro 2008, the 2004 European champs are coming on strong in the 2010 World Cup qualifying matches. After beating Luxembourg 3-0, the Greek capped off a great performance against Latvia netting the 2-0 victory.
The first half started dull as both teams were getting used to the pitch and its bounces. In the 10th minute, Giourkas Seitaridis crossed a curling ball into the middle of the pitch where Theofanis Gekas hit it with a first touch volley into the back of the net, giving the Greeks the 1-0 lead. The Latvians responded immediately at the other end by putting pressure on the Greek defense. Around eight minutes later, Giorgios Karagounis curled a corner toward the near-post which met the head of Gekas but Latvia goalkeeper, Andris Vanins, made an excellent diving save to keep it at 1-0. The Greeks almost doubled there lead again when Karagounis curled a ball into the center where Angelos Charisteas headed it into what looked like the back of the net, but Vanins made the brilliant reaction save. That save kept the deficit at 1-0 although the Greeks were in total control of this football game.
Only five minutes into the half, Greek striker Giorgios Samaras made a few nice moves then gave the ball up to overlapping back Vassilis Torosidis. He then crossed it into the middle where none-other then Gekas met it, and produced his second goal of the game, and his third this qualifying round. At the end of the game, the Latvians could have cut the lead down to one as striker Verpakovskis had a one on one with keeper Chalkias. He raced into the area and shot the ball wide, putting the final nail in the coffin in a win for the Greeks.
The Greeks now lead the group with 6 total points. Second is Israel with 4. Next on the schedule for the Greeks is group bottom feeder, Moldova.
(Kartik’s note: Switzerland was shocked at home yesterday by Luxembourg giving Israel, Latvia and Greece virtually a game in hand so to speak on the Swiss who hosted Euro 2008 and won their group at Germany 2006.)