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Argentina snuff out Greece hopes

Greece 0-2 Argentina
The European side bowed out of the FIFA World Cup as late goals from Martín Demichelis and Martín Palermo finally broke their resistance.

Georgios Samaras had Greece's best chance in Polokwane
Georgios Samaras had Greece's best chance in Polokwane ©Getty Images

Greece bowed out of the FIFA World Cup after losing 2-0 to Argentina in Polokwane.

Greece started the game level on three points with Korea Republic in Group B, but could not get their attacking game going as Argentina dominated possession. However, the match was still in the balance until the 77th minute when Martín Demichelis struck before Martín Palermo's late effort secured the points to give Diego Maradona's side a perfect record in the section. They go on to play Mexico in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Greece were determined to give nothing easy away in the first half and were happy for Argentina to retain possession before stifling any attacks that approached their area. Otto Rehhagel's side restricted Argentina to long-range efforts before Maxi Rodríguez tested Alexandros Tzorvas in added time before the break.

Despite playing up front on his own, Georgios Samaras was giving the Argentinian defence problems on the few occasions he had the ball and after the restart he created a clear chance for himself. Running on to a long clearance, his shot was blocked by Nicolás Burdisso, but the Celtic FC striker was given another bite at the cherry only to screw his shot wide.

However, apart from that brief foray, the pattern was much the same in the second half with Argentina probing and Greece defending resolutely. With Nigeria and Korea Republic locked at 2-2, Greece were going out but they could not up their attacking ambition and Argentina finally made their pressure tell in the 77th minute. Demichelis's header from a corner hit Diego Milito but the ball bounced back to him and he smashed it into the roof of the net. Palermo then struck in the last minute following a trademark run from Lionel Messi as Greece went out meekly.