2014 World Cup: Greece Defend Heavily in Japan Draw
In World Cup Group C action, Japan and Greece shared the spoils in a scoreless draw, even though the Greeks were down a man since the first half when captain Kostas Katsouranis was ejected for a second yellow. The Japanese attack was relentless at times, but they were unable to put the ball home.
Japan had over 100 passes more than Greece roughly 18 minutes into the match, which goes to show us all that they can hold on to possession for long periods of time. This also proves that their opponent was happy to just sit back and let them tire themselves out, but this was a game where both sides went the whole 90 minutes without missing a step.
The problem with Greece’s performance was that they relied too much on their wing backs and even center backs to push up in aiding the attack. They were still able to defend, but they had trouble finding openings on the ground, which forced them to keep on attempting with the ball over the top. This was too predictable, which is why they barely created any successful attempts on frame.
Japan passed the ball, ran off the ball and the players helped one another out by filling in the gaps at all times. Even under pressure, they managed to slice and dice defenses with beautiful passes. Their biggest flaw offensively was constantly crossing the ball into the area, knowing that the Greek defenders were bigger and stronger in the air, which is why they did not score.
Now, they have to defeat Colombia who are guaranteed a round of 16 spot after this draw, which means that they have more of a reason to win. As for Greece, they face an Ivory Coast side who will want to grab all three points against them to advance behind Colombia. Neither game will be easy, but one thing is for sure: desperation will play a huge part.
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