Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni implored his team to take their chances against Greece or face an early exit from the FIFA World Cup™ . Both Japan and Greece are fighting for their Group C survival following respective defeats to Côte d'Ivoire and Colombia.
But after being outmuscled in a second half which saw Côte d'Ivoire strike twice in the space of two minutes, the Blue Samurai face another bruising encounter in Natal's Estadio das Dunas on Thursday. Zaccheroni believes the determined approach which catapulted Greece to a surprise victory at UEFA EURO 2004 will prove a threat to the four-time Asian champions.
"Greece have always stood out for their tenacity and the compact nature of their game," Zaccheroni said reporters on Wednesday. "They've built their success on that. They withstand attacks very well, they're difficult opposition and so we have to exploit our opportunities when they come up.
"This is a very short tournament, so we all know that if you lose one match it gives you little chance of advancing. But I'm an optimist. Japan have significant potential. Now we're all just waiting to show that potential in our next two matches, starting with tomorrow. It's fundamental we win if we're going to advance."