Japan vs Greece World Cup 2014: match preview

A look ahead to Thursday’s clash that could determine the first Group C elimination

Group C’s dark horses are squaring off at Natal in a match that none of them can afford to lose, whilst favourites Colombia and Ivory Coast are facing off earlier in Brazil’s capital.

LIVE: Follow Japan v Greece latest

Greece are hoping to bounce back from a heavy 3-0 defeat by the South Americans and manager Fernando Santos is expected to make quite a few changes in the starting line-up. Fulham record-singing striker Kostas Mitroglou will be starting instead of former Bayer Leverkusen man Fanis Gekas up front and Genoa winger Giannis Fetfatzidis is probably replacing Dimitris Salpingidis on the wings.

The National needs to put its rock-solid defence back together which raises questions as to whether German-born left-back Jose Holebas will be starting - if not, he will be replaced by Giorgos Tzavellas. Nevertheless, the 2004 European champions will feature the same centre-back duo of Kostas Manolas and Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Japan fell short against Ivory Coast last week and will be relying heavily on speed to break the Greek defence, just like Colombia did. Manager Alberto Zaccheroni will be expecting a lot from the trio behind the striker consisting of AC Milan’s Keisuke Honda, Inter Milan’s Yuto Nagatomo and Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa.

 

KICK-OFF: Thursday, 11pm

PAST MEETING:

Greece 0 Japan 1 (Oguro), Confederations Cup, June 2005

STATS:

Greece have only won one of their last seven World Cup matches. They have lost all other six.

The Euro 2004 champions have a World Cup goal record of 2-18.

Former Fulham midfielder Giorgos Karagounis is the most capped Greek player ever and will be picking up his 137 appearance.

PAOK striker Dimitris Salpingidis and Roma right-back Vasilis Torosidis are the only players to have scored for Greece in the World Cup stage- one goal each. They both scored their goal four years ago against Nigeria.

Mainz striker Shinji Okazaki was the top scorer of the Asian World Cup qualifiers with eight goals.

Keisuke Honda has been involved in four out of the last five World Cup goals of his team as the AC Milan attacking midfielder has scored three goals and produced one assist.

ODDS:

Japan to win: 23.20

Greece to win: 13.5

Draw: 12.5

TV: Live on BBC One at 11pm

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick