Seconds away from being sent home from the World Cup, Greece’s soccer team is in the final 16 after, finally, getting some good luck.
Playing a man short because of a penalty, Greece hung on for a tough World Cup 0-0 draw against Japan, keeping both team’s hopes of advancing alive.
With Greeks holding their heads after the soccer team was humiliated 3-0 in its opening round World Cup match with Colombia, coach Fernando Santos shrugged it off.
Greece struggled in its World Cup opener, losing 3-0 to Colombia at Estadio Mineirao in Brazil, but the team and their fans are still hopeful they will pull themselves together and advance out of Group C. Its next game is Thursday, June 19 against Japan.
Overcoming solidly defensive teams like Greece has never been the forte of South American teams, which thrive on attractive football. Colombia coach Jose Pekerman sees the main challenge for his players in their World Cup opener June 14 as respecting the way Greece plays.
Greece’s basketball team will be coached by Fotis Katsikaris at the World Championship that will take place this summer in Spain from Aug. 30-Sept. 14.
FIFA had to step in to help Greece’s national team get to its World Cup base in Brazil a day later than expected after a flight cancellation in the United States.
Storming back from a 2-1 deficit, defending champion Panathinaikos wiped out arch-rival Olympiakos 82-71 on June 4 to hold on to its Greek basketball league title.
With few famous players, Greece will rely heavily on a handful of team members who had a role in qualifying for the World Cup, and is counting on striker Kostas Mitroglou.
Greece and Nigeria played a scoreless draw in a pre-World Cup friendly the night of June 3 at the home of the MLS Philadelphia Union.