In basically an elimination match, Greece and Japan will take the field Thursday night in the 2014 World Cup.
Greece was pretty much dominated from start to finish in a 3-0 loss to Columbia. Greece had a few opportunities to score with Vassilis Torosidis and Panagiotis Kone, but ultimately it was an uninspired performance from the beginning and overall a disappointing effort from a pretty good team. Greece coach Fernando Santos said there was no excuses for getting outplayed in the match, but they will be ready for the match against Japan. In order for things to turnaround, Greece needs to play with more energy from the start and get something from one of their two playmakers in Torosidis and Kone.
Japan’s loss was simply heartbreaking, as they held a 1-0 lead for much of the match before allowing two goals in 99 seconds to lose against Ivory Coast. It’s clear that Japan has some mental issues and can panic under pressure. It almost makes you wonder what would happen if Japan gets off to a slow start. While it may sound like the sky is falling on Japan, they did a wonderful job of showcasing their speed and explosiveness. There isn’t another team that can push the ball like Japan and that’s something Eiji Kawashima has stressed over the last few days. The Asian giants want to be aggressive and put overwhelming pressure on the opponent’s defense.
We have one team that seemed like it didn’t want to be here, while another is prone to folding under pressure. This is really one of the clear toss-up matches of the World Cup.
However, you have to be impressed with the conditioning and quickness of Japan. That could lead to a fast start and another lackluster effort from Greece.
I’ll take Japan to keep the pressure on throughout the game and eventually pick up the victory.