Nigeria vs. Greece: The Super Eagles Take On Galanoleyki

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It seems the coin toss will be the deciding factor concerning who has the advantage as Nigeria takes on Greece in day seven of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (ESPN will begin live coverage at 9:30 a.m. EST.) Both teams lost in their first games of group matches — to Argentina and the Korea Republic respectively.

Both Nigeria and Greece were first qualified for the World Cup finals in 1994. And both teams are currently under the leadership of foreign coaches. Nigeria’s Lars Lagerback hails from Sweden and Greece’s Otto Rehhagel is actually German. In fact there’s a lot of traveling going on among the 2010 World Cup teams. 12 of the 32 have foreign coaches pacing the sidelines — which historically might not be to their benefit. (A foreign coach has never before brought “home” a World Cup trophy.)

Will Rehakles lead the Pirate Ship to the treasure? Or will Lagerback push the Super Eagles out of the nest and up to the top? The Greeks may have the gods on their side, but the Nigerians have 151 million friends cheering them on back home (a population around fourteen times greater than that of Greece).

Find out more after the jump…

The Nigerians are also a lot closer to celebration, put in terms of upcoming festivals that is. Nigeria’s grand Abuja Carnival is only six months away, while Greece, known for its immense Easter celebration, is still ten months away from party time.

for the victory party too, as the country’s huge population has provided them with an “unusually strong market for local pop music.”

From juju to highlife, King Sunny Adé to Tony Allen, the Nigerians have some good tunes to keep them going. Music and media may not get them that far though against a coach who prizes players that are “better with the ball than with a microphone.”

If you’re watching the game as a family:

Take some time beforehand to check out Nigeria and Greece on our National Geographic Kids website. The People & Places database is a great way for kids to learn more about the two beautiful countries these teams call home. (For parents there are also guides to the countries on our main website – NigeriaGreece.)

If you’re doing the World Cup Toronto-style:

Toronto is home to one of the largest Hellenic communities outside of Greece. The Danforth area of Toronto, sometimes called Greektown, boasts a myriad of Greek cafés and restaurant venues for World Cup watching, including the Fox and Fiddle where Toronto’s Hellas Fan Club will be gathering to cheer on the blue and white.

And if you’re in the Big Apple:

Super Eagle fans in New York City can enjoy authentic African food for breakfast while watching the game at Mirage African Restaurant in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Photo: Massismo Bassano/National Geographic