World Cup 2014 review – Greece

Quarter-finals: FranceColombiaBelgiumCosta Rica

Round of 16: ChileUruguayMexicoGreeceNigeriaAlgeriaSwitzerlandUSA
A: CroatiaCameroon B: SpainAustralia C: Ivory CoastJapan D: ItalyEngland
E: EcuadorHonduras F: BosniaIran G: PortugalGhana H: RussiaSouth Korea

GREECE

World Cup progress: Round of 16

Team rating: 7

Top scorer: Papastathopoulos, Samaras, Samaris (1)

Greece battled hard to prolong their stay in Brazil, but ultimately suffered penalty shootout heartache against Costa Rica, reflects Oli Coates.

Greece slip up on penalties

Greece displayed the determination in Brazil that saw them crowned European champions a decade ago, battling back from the brink of elimination having suffered a comprehensive defeat in their opening fixture against Colombia.

A goalless draw against Japan was followed by a dramatic late show against Ivory Coast, where a Georgios Samaras penalty in the final throes of injury time sent Fernando Santos’ side through to the Round of 16 at the expense of the Africans.

It was the first time Greece had qualified for the knockout rounds of the World Cup, but they will be disappointed that it ended in the second round, despite more late drama and playing against 10 men for almost an hour. Sokratis Papastathopoulos took the clash with Costa Rica to an extra time period that the Europeans dominated, but it was Los Ticos who progressed thanks to the penalty shootout heroics of goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

The Coach – Fernando Santos

Following in the hallowed footsteps of Otto Rehhagel, Santos has adopted a similar style based on defensive solidity that was evident in Brazil. After shipping three goals in their opening game, the Portuguese Coach tightened his defence up to concede just twice more in their remaining ties – his tactics almost took them to the quarter-finals.

Player of the Tournament – Georgios Samaras

Hardly prolific in front of goal with just nine strikes from 78 international appearances, Samaras was presented with an opportunity from 12 yards against Ivory Coast after winning a penalty deep into injury time. It was a Herculean effort to overcome the pressure he was faced with to dispatch the ball into the back of the net.

Memorable moment

Requiring victory in their final group game against Ivory Coast, the Greeks were staring down the barrel of elimination before Samaras’ dramatic penalty saved them.

Results

14-Jun-14 Colombia 3-0 Greece Group C
19-Jun-14 Japan 0-0 Greece Group C
24-Jun-14 Greece 2-1 Ivory Coast Group C
Group C P W D L F A Pts
Colombia 3 3 0 0 9 2 9
Greece 3 1 1 1 2 4 4
Ivory Coast 3 1 0 2 4 5 3
Japan 3 0 1 2 2 6 1
29-Jun-14 Costa Rica 1-1 Greece Round of 16
    (5-3 on pens)    

Squad

No Pos Player Apps Goals Assists
1 GK Orestis Karnezis 4
2 M Ioannis Maniatis 4
3 D Georgios Tzavelas
4 D Konstantinos Manolas 4
5 D Vangelis Moras
6 M Alexandros Tziolis
7 A Georgios Samaras 4 1 1
8 M Panagiotis Kone 3
9 A Konstantinos Mitroglou 3
10 M Georgios Karagounis 4
11 D Loukas Vyntra
12 GK Panagiotis Glykos 1
13 GK Stefanos Kapino
14 A Dimitrios Salpingidis 4
15 D Vasileios Torosidis 4
16 M Lazaros Christodoulopoulos 2
17 A Theofanis Gekas 4
18 A Ioannis Fetfatzidis 2
19 D Sokratis Papastathopoulos 4 1
20 D Jose Cholevas 4
21 M Konstantinos Katsouranis 3
22 M Andreas Samaris 2 1
23 M Panagiotis Tachtsidis

For a complete review of the 2014 World Cup, check out the next issue of Soccer Italia, written by the team at Football Italia and available on worldwide subscription.