Saturday November 29, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
16o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greece must fix defense to survive

Rock-solid defenders who constantly chase, tackle and bully their opponents have been the key to Greece tactics ever since it became European champion in 2004.

A decade ago, that team conceded a miserly four goals at Euro 2004 and its successor only conceded four in qualifying to secure its place at the 2014 World Cup as Greece stayed true to its reputation for hard work and ruthless discipline at the back.

That all changed when the squad arrived in Brazil.

The team's much-vaunted defense was torn apart in a 3-0 defeat by Colombia, whose display of speed and style sometimes left the Greeks standing around like statues.

Greece now faces Japan in Natal on Thursday in a game that could very well put either team out of contention. Japan lost to Ivory Coast 2-1 in its opener, meaning neither team can really afford another defeat if they hope to advance out of Group C.

Japan advanced to the round of 16 four years ago but lost to Paraguay on penalties. Greece has bowed out in the group stage in its previous two World Cups.

For Greece, the need to rebuild its solid back line will be all the more important at a World Cup that is so far seeing crowd-pleasing flair in attack and plenty of goals: 44 in the first 14 games.

Colombia scored in the fifth minute, forcing Greece out of its comfort zone right from the start and attacking with speed on the flanks. Greek frustration was reflected in two of its players drawing yellow cards in the second half.

"That wasn't what people expected, Greece midfielder Andreas Samaris said. I know what everyone expected of Greece though: that we would have 11 men behind the ball, defend, defend, defend and give everything to keep a clean sheet.

"We went out to win against Colombia, and that philosophy will not change. We just hope it brings a better result for us because Japan is now a must, must-win game for us."

Like Colombia, Japan is likely to attack at speed through the Europe-based trio of Shinji Kagawa, Yuto Nagatomo and Keisuke Honda. Against Ivory Coast, Japan had the better of the first half but ultimately struggled as the game got more physical in the second half.

The arrival of the Ivorians' star striker Didier Drogba as a second-half substitute also raised his team's performance and there was only a muted response from the Japanese.

AC Milan midfielder Honda said that the team was determined to bounce back against Greece.

"Nobody feels good about losing and obviously it was a shock, Honda, who opened the scoring with a powerful first-half strike, was quoted as saying. But it's not a shock that we lost, the thing that shocks me is we lost because we could not play to our strengths.

"We gave our opponents' front line too much respect. Mentally we were weak but that is not a problem that can't be fixed. A little bit more spirit can turn things around ... of course we still have an opportunity to get through the group phase."

[AP]

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday June 18, 2014 (11:06)  
One more emphatic win sees Panathinaikos make top 16
PAOK is one win from Europa Leagues last 32
First defeat for Olympiakos in Euroleague
Atletico drubs Olympiakos 4-0, leaving Reds with slim chances of CL qualification
Venizelos extends invite to Turkey at start of visit
Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos arrived in Ankara Friday night for two days of talks. Ahead of his visit he sought to make it clear that Greece is prepared to discuss maritime issues wi...
Vatopedi trial for 14 suspects
The Supreme Court decided Friday that 14 people should stand trial for the notorious property swap between the Vatopedi Monastery and the state six years ago. Those who will face charges of ...
Inside News
Q3 growth was bigger than thought
The provisional seasonally adjusted statistics for the Greek economy in the third quarter put annual growth at 1.6 percent, against an original estimate for 1.4 percent, according to a state...
Who will pay for the states ADMIE stake?
The state is currently unable to pay the amount required for the acquisition of a 34 percent stake in the countrys Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE), as provided for in a plan...
Inside Business
COMMENTARY
Change of US president wont mean change of foreign policy
Americans have again voted for change in Washington as opposition Republicans take control of both houses of the US Congress. As attention now turns to the 2016 presidential race, it's time ...
COMMENTARY
The presidential election paradox
A few days ago, speaking with a visiting colleague who neither works in Europe nor covers events here, I suddenly felt how much we Greeks take for granted some things that should have worrie...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. One more emphatic win sees Panathinaikos make top 16
2. Venizelos extends invite to Turkey at start of visit
3. Vatopedi trial for 14 suspects
4. New proposals on way to troika
5. Cabbie who carried shooter claims he was threatened
6. Govt urged to allow Syrian refugees to move on
more news
Today
This Week
1. Change of US president won't mean change of foreign policy
2. Child molester suspect photo released by police
3. Greek economy expands 0.7 pct q/q in Q3
4. Lebanese FM: Cyprus may be jihadi transit point
5. Athens water supply 9-month profit falls 45 pct on lower charges
6. Armed man arrested on Thessaloniki campus
Today
This Week
1. Give Greece a chance
2. Extremism from a bygone era
3. Scientists expand excavation of ancient Amphipolis
4. Greece paralyzed by major strike, flights cancelled
5. Piraeus nightclub shooting leaves 3 seriously injured
6. Coscos Greek unit adds multinational rail-freight client
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.