Japan v Greece Preview

Group C | Thursday 19 June | Arena das Dunas, Natal | 23:59




Japan and Greece will lock horns after both teams fell to defeat in their opening matches, making this game a must win for both sides. Japan lost 2-1 to African Giants Ivory coast, whilst Greece were annihilated 3-0 at the hands of Colombia.

To Win (90mins)
Japan 11/10
Draw 23/10
Greece 5/2

JAPAN

A fine Keisuke Honda strike after 16 minutes had put Japan in front at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife, but the Ivorians introduced Didier Drogba from the bench just after the hour mark before going on to turn the game on its head.

Within five minutes of the veteran striker's arrival on the rain-soaked surface, the Elephants scored twice, both times from Serge Aurier crosses.

Japan never looked in control of the match besides a fine individual performance from AC Milan’s Honda.

Despite a fairly comfortable approach to the game with their passing and movement early on and some shoddy finishing by their opponents leaving them ahead at the break, Japan lacked their usual fluidity and creativity.

That, coupled with their habit of conceding goals, proved to be their downfall, which will make it very difficult for them to come back and progress from the group stage.

Alberto Zaccheroni didn't do enough to change it during the match, and his team couldn't react to the situation of being behind.

For Japan to better their last-16 appearance from the previous World Cup, coach Zaccheroni must make full use of Blue Samurai’s hugely creative forward players and the dynamism of flying fullbacks.

They have a myriad of creative players in midfield, but whether they’re sturdy enough at the back or incisive enough up front remain to be seen.

GREECE

Colombia's pace and trickery were too much for Greece to handle as the South American managed a 3-0 win.

Greece will now have to regroup ahead of its second match against Japan after its notoriously solid defence leaked three goals.

Greece boss Fernando Santos sets his team up to be hard to beat, defensively sound and to move forward with their front three when possible—and when it seems largely risk-free.

All that went out the window after five minutes when they fell behind against Colombia. Greece didn't have an answer to that situation, despite enjoying more possession in the second half.

Greece had the majority of possession with 54 percent, but whenever Colombia players got hold of the ball, they blazed down the flanks and through the middle of the pitch, disorientating their opponents.

The Greeks had a chance to pull a goal back after Gutierrez scored, but an unmarked Georgios Samaras rattled the crossbar from two yards out.

The only creativity they found was in Samaras' infrequent meanderings infield; otherwise, Greece relied on deep crosses and diagonal, long balls to penetrate Colombia's defensive line.

It was a poor showing overall from the Greeks.

Betting PredictionJAPAN 11/10
These teams last met in the Confederations Cup in 2005, with Japan edging a 1-0 win over Greece. Japan should have more possession here and with their quality in midfield and up-front, are tipped to get the better of their opponents.  

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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