While the Group C table doesn’t look great following the first match day for Greece, there is still a chance that they can snag a spot in the round of 16. Here, Forza Italian Football pose give reasons why the Ethniki can still move on to the knockout stages.
1. They have faced the best team in the group: The Colombians rolled out to an easy 3-0 victory over the Greeks. Even without their star Radamel Falcao, the Cafeteros still have plenty of quality with Monaco’s James Rodriguez and Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado among others. The Colombians still look like the odds on favorite to win the group, and with them out of the way for Greece they can focus on more winnable games.
2. They are slow starters at major tournaments: At the last World Cup in South Africa, the Ethniki lost their first match 2-0 to South Korea. They immediately responded with a victory over Nigeria. Even in the Euro 2012, where the Greeks advanced to the Quarterfinals, they drew with Poland to open the tournament and only qualified by winning the third group match.
3. Many of the key players know it’s now or never for them: The old guard players, such as Dimitrios Salpingidis and Theofanis Gekas know they are coming to the end of their international careers. If they want to take Greece further, then it starts against Japan on Wednesday.
4. The Greeks saw the blueprint for how to beat Japan: Both of the Ivory Coast goals were from crosses into the box. With the Greeks having a size advantage over the smaller Blue Samarai, they know exactly what to do if they are to get the three points they desperately need to advance.
5. They don’t have to travel as far between games two and three: The Greeks will play their match against Japan in Natal, and then face the Ivory Coast in Fortaleza, less than 600 kilometers apart. Meanwhile the Elephants play their second match in Brasilia and then must make a 2,000 kilometer trek north for the final match. The extended journey coupled with the heat and humidity could see Ivory Coast struggle in the final match.