by Chris Blake
Despite a disappointing first game loss, the Greek National Football Team still has a chance to advance to the knockout round of the World Cup, but must have a positive result June 24th against Ivory Coast. After the Greeks were throttled by Colombia 3-0 in their first match and played to a 0-0 draw against Japan the second time out, a victory against Les Elephants is vital.
In addition to a win, Greece also needs Japan to fall to Colombia in the final game of the Group C play. In theory, the Greeks could advance with a Japan victory, but would have to have the edge in goal differential, which is unlikely, as they have not yet scored in two matches. Colombia is already onto the Round of 16 after wins in its first two matches.
Los Cafeteros, in the World Cup for the first time since 1998, dispatched Greece in their first match with goals scored by Pablo Armero, Teofilo Gutierrez and James Rodriguez. The statistics read fairly equal, as Greece held possession of the ball 46 percent of the time and delivered the ball into the area 14 times compared to Colombia’s five, but the Greeks could not find the back of the net.
In the Pirate Ship’s second attempt against the Blue Samurai, they were at a disadvantage after the 38th minute when Konstantinos Katsouranis received his second yellow card and the Greeks finished with 10 men on the field.
Japan thoroughly dominated the match, holding the ball 68 percent of the time and mounting 62 dangerous attacks, according to FIFA post game statistics, but Greece’s calling card – it’s back line – held strong and earned a scoreless draw.
Tuesday’s opponent, Ivory Coast, is still led by 36-year-old Didier Drogba, who was one of the best players in the world four years ago at South Africa. He didn’t start either of Les Elephants first two matches, but as soon as Drogba entered the field against Japan, Ivory Coast scored two quick goals.
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