A 3-0 defeat by Colombia on Saturday in Greece’s opening World Cup Group C game was a bad start to the tournament in Brazil but it is no drama, Greece coach Fernando Santos told reporters.
Santos said the Greeks, who have never managed to keep a clean sheet at a World Cup match, paid the price for a lack of focus at key moments in the game.
“We should not make a drama out of it,» Santos said. «We must analyse what was less positive and what was positive, balance things, and organise our ideas.”
The Greeks were outsmarted by the South Americans early in both halves and Colombia fired a stoppage-time third goal to confirm their status as group favourites.
“At the end of this type of match we have to congratulate our opponents because they were more efficient,» said the Portuguese.
“The first five, ten minutes we had some difficulties with our concentration, we were not focused enough. There were no surprises because we knew, I had told my players, what team we would play against. It was not different for their usual strategy,» he said.
The Greeks worked their way back into the game only to miss some good chances and hit the crossbar with a Fanis Gekas header but Santos said their conversion rate needed to improve for their second group game against Japan.
“We could have scored a goal and we can say the result is exaggerated compared to how the teams performed on the pitch. We had our chances, we controlled the game for long periods of time.”
Santos rued some of his players’ lack of concentration toward the end of the game when Colombia scored their third goal.
“Towards the end some of the players seemed to have forgotten what type of competition they were playing in. They were totally out of the game. Some of them, not all of them,» he said.
“But some of them thought it was over. During the rest of the match they fought well but one or two minutes they were not focused enough.”
“It was bad and became worse with the third goal and it happened because of us. We were guilty,» said Santos.
Greece face Japan on June 19 before taking on Ivory Coast in their final group game.