Greece defender Nikos Spiropoulos admits Saturday's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ opener against Korea Republic is already "the crunch match" for Otto Rehhagel's side.
Drawn in a group that also features Argentina and Nigeria, the UEFA Euro 2004 winners know a positive result is essential against the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ co-hosts if they are to maintain their hopes of progressing to the knockout stage, and Panathinaikos defender Spiropoulos is in no doubt about the difficulty of the task ahead, starting this weekend in Port Elizabeth.
We will have to deal with a very disciplined team. I hope that on Saturday we'll be as fit as possible to achieve that goal.
"As everybody knows, the first match is the crunch match," he said. "It's essential to get a winning result. We will have to deal with a very disciplined team. I hope that on Saturday we'll be as fit as possible to achieve that goal."
Midfielder Christos Patsatzoglou concurred with his team-mate. He said: "All the players are living a dream because the World Cup is the greatest tournament in the world. We know we have a key game against South Korea. If we win, we are in a position to try to qualify for the next round. It's very important not to lose, everybody knows that."
Patsatzoglou expects Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung to be Korea Republic's main threat. "Park is definitely their top player," he said. "We've seen lots of DVDs of South Korea, but not only of Park in action. All their players are good and work well as a team. It's important for us to be focused and get the win."