Greece lost to Colombia on opening day 3-0 while Japan dropped a one-goal lead 2-1 against the Ivory Coast. Tomorrow, both nations will look to turn their fortunes around by winning their first game with the hopes of advancing from Group C in the World Cup.
The Greeks failed to capitalize on their many chances in their rather daring 4-3-3 formation against a much quicker Colombia side, which tore them apart in the middle and even on the wings. Tomorrow, the speed factor will still lay heavily in Japan’s favor, but the Europeans do have their strength and ball control from their midfielders and wingers to rely on.
Angelos Samaras, Greece captain, did all he could in the first game to create opportunities for himself and others, but his methods did not work. This time, he will need to speed his game up a bit on the break while also getting much-needed assistance from his teammates, who tried to make him be the hero. If they want to defeat Japan, they have to play as a team through thick and thin.
The Japanese started out brightly against the Ivorians, finding their goal in less than 15 minutes through Keisuke Honda. However, after this flying start, the team simply stopped attacking and were quite frankly in awe of the soccer that their opponents played. They sat back and tried to hit them on the counter, but it did not work as the Ivorians missed a plethora of first-half opportunities before scoring twice in the second half to take the points.
This time around, they will need to find a balance between attacking and defending, as they seemed to let out all of their creative energy too early in their opening game. Against the Greeks, they will need to rely on Honda, Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki to lead the attack and create several opportunities to score. If they all have a decent game, the team will score goals.
Prediction: Greece 1, Japan 2
The Greeks will finally score, but they will be caught at the back twice by a team that will look much more confident this time around offensively throughout the 90 minutes.