WORLD CUP: Samaras late penalty clinches last 16 spot

WorldCup2014

GROUP C

GREECE 2-1 COTE D’IVORIE

TUESDAY 24TH JUNE – FORTALEZA

Celtic’s Georgios Samaras scored a spot-kick deep into stoppage time to send Greece into the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

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Greece’s Georgios Samaras buried the penalty kick in the 92nd minute, giving his side a decisive 2-1 lead that ultimately saw it through to the knockout stages. Had Greece not scored, the Ivory Coast was poised to advance by virtue of the draw, but instead, Samaras’ goal propels Greece to its first-ever knockout round.

Samaras was looking for a late winner when Ivorian substitute Giovanni Sio brought down the striker, forcing the referee to point to the spot.

Greece, which hadn’t scored a World Cup goal in two prior games, actually took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to a costly turnover from Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote. Greek substitute Andreas Samaris scored on the counter and it looked like Greece might be able to advance with just one goal in the tournament.

However, Wilfried Bony grabbed an equalizer in the 74th minute, which would’ve been enough for the Ivory Coast to enter the last 16. Roma winger Gervinho played a wonderful through ball as Bony poked the ball home.

Into stoppage time we went, both teams fighting for one last decisive goal when Samaras’ foot got kicked as he was preparing for a last-gasp shot. The penalty and 2-1 win sends Greece into the Round of 16 where it will face shock Group D winner Costa Rica.

The pressure on Samaras must have been absolutely huge. The Celtic man had not scored for his country in two years but stayed calm when it mattered most and lifted the ball over Barry.

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WillBurns

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