GROUP C
Greece

THE 60-SECOND OVERVIEW

Greece arrive in Brazil as rank outsiders, and that suits them just fine. Their traditional defensive solidity is still there, but the age-old question remains: where will the goals come from?

Colombia, Japan, and Ivory Coast will all be formidable opponents for a side that often struggles against skilful outfits that can put together quick combinations. The positive way of looking at this is that the Greeks will be able to sit back and play in their favoured counter-attacking style. Finishing in the top two in Group C is a possibility – but it's more likely that they’ll put in a decent effort that falls just short.

THE DREAM

Escape the group. In Greece, the hopes are that they will advance to the Round of 16 – especially after only winning one game in South Africa. The key match will undoubtedly be the opener against Colombia: the Greeks will be champing at the bit to spring a shock and might fancy themselves against the perennially under-achieving South Americans.

That could spur on the team to bigger and better things. Even a draw in the first match would provide momentum to grab points against Japan and Ivory Coast, leading to some later-round fun: they haven't won a knockout game since the Euro 2004 final.

THE NIGHTMARE

Anything resembling the performance of the team at the 1994 World Cup would be a national tragedy. Jokes are still cracked about that side, which lost all three group matches, conceding 10 goals in the process and scoring none.

This group line-up is vaguely reminiscent of the one 20 years ago, which comprised Argentina, Bulgaria, and Nigeria. Japan, like Bulgaria, could be ready to make their mark in the competition; add in a strong South American unit, and an African team looking to take its golden generation’s last chance, and the similarities frighten Hellenic supporters.

THE STATS
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PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

MAKE GREECE LOOK LIKE BRAZIL: IOANNIS FETFATZIDIS

Born in the northern town of Drama, Fetfatzidis can leave opposing defenders in the dust with his close control and array of one-on-one moves. His consistency leaves something to be desired, but the Genoa playmaker is the one Greek player who can get neutrals off their seats.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

PROVIDE ENDLESS ENTERTAINMENT: GIORGOS KARAGOUNIS

Whether dramatically rolling a good 20 yards after receiving the slightest of nudges, or passionately urging his teammates to raise their game, there is never a dull moment with Greece’s animated, inspirational, 37-year-old captain.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

CONCEDE AN INJURY-TIME PENALTY: JOSE HOLEBAS

Born in Germany to a Greek mum and Uruguayan dad (who inexplicably called his brother Bjorn), Holebas is a rapid left-back with a great delivery on set pieces. Unfortunately, the Olympiakos man also has the tendency to switch off at key moments – and his defensive decision-making can be highly suspect.

DID YOU KNOW?

LANGUID CELTIC STRIKER Georgios Samaras starred in a Head ’n’ Shoulders shampoo ad IN WHICH his LONG locks were rinsed while he was playing a match.

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Expect patient massed defence and attempted rapid counter-attacks. Goals may not flow but a solid start could inspire another run.