Friendly defeat to Korea a wake-up call for Greece

By George Georgakopoulos

Greece produced a disappointing performance and lost 2-0 at home to South Korea in a friendly game in Piraeus that should serve as a wake-up call for the team ahead of the World Cup.

In what would have otherwise been a forgettable performance for the national team, Greece players sent a message of warning to their coach, as there is no chance this team can achieve anything in Brazil if it plays in the finals in the same way it did in this friendly at home.

The national team was outrun, outsmarted and outdone by South Korea at the Karaiskakis Stadium, that was not even half-full in Greece’s last home game before the World Cup in June and with Portuguese manager Fernando Santos on its bench.

There were times when the Greek players could do no more than just watch the tricks the Koreans pulled on the pitch, to the excitement of the 300-strong following the Asian visitors had on the night.

The Greeks’ defending was uncharacteristically sloppy, allowing the Koreans through their box on several occasions, while the Greece midfield was unable to dictate the pace of the game.

Chu-Young Park opened the score for the visitors on the 18th minute as he collected the ball in the box undisturbed and slotted the ball past debutant goalkeeper Panayiotis Glykos with ease.

Five minutes later Costas Katsouranis struck the upright in Greece’s best chance in the first half as he was clear in front of goal, while on the 30th the national team hit the goalframe twice, with Vassilis Torosidis and Avraam Papadopoulos.

The second half started in the same fashion as the first, taking the Koreans just over nine minutes to stretch their lead to 2-0 through Heung-Min Son.

The entry of winger Yiannis Fetfatzidis added some spark to the Greek team, but it was not enough to change anything in the score.

Greece will play four more friendly games before the World Cup finals, all of them from May 31 onward.