Greeks unlikely to hand out any gifts to Japan.
Having lost their opening games, both sides are now playing catch-up in Group C but at least Japan put up a bit of a fight against the Ivory Coast, which is more than be said about the Greek performance against Colombia.
Of course, there is still time Fernando Marcos’ side but there will be leaving the tournament early if they don’t buck up their ideas – that first appearance in the last 16 is certainly looking a forlorn hope as this stage.
Colombia were missing a few key players in Belo Horizonte but still won in a canter. Their opponents failed to heed early warnings and looked sluggish throughout, their only real attacking threat coming from Georgios Samaras, who looks set to sever links with Celtic this summer after six years.
Japan actually led the Ivory Coast in Recife at half-time and it was only when Didier Drogba was introduced that the former African champions finally took their chances.
It was a respectable effort from Alberto Zaccheroni’s team, who were typically industrious. But they are always going to suffer in a battle of strength and that may be Greece’s best chance of remaining in the tournament if they can match the work-rate of the Asian qualifiers who will again look to Keisuki Honda and Shinji Kagawa for inspiration.
Greece surely can’t play as badly as they did in their opener and their campaign in Euro 2012 followed a similar pattern. Japan’s finest moment in the tournament may have been that first hour against the Elephants so the Europeans look the value at 9/4. Both teams to score is 3/4.
Japan v Greece kicks off at 11pm UK time on Thursday June 19th at the Estadio das Dunas, Natal.