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  • NATAL, Brazil -- Rock-solid defenders who constantly chase, tackle and bully their opponents have been the key to Greece tactics ever since they became European champions in 2004. Cristiano Ronaldo Jersey . A decade ago, that team conceded a miserly four goals at Euro 2004 and its successor only conceded four in qualifying to secure its place at the 2014 World Cup as Greece stayed true to its reputation for hard work and ruthless discipline at the back. That all changed when the squad arrived in Brazil. The teams much-vaunted defence was torn apart in a 3-0 defeat by Colombia, whose display of speed and style sometimes left the Greeks standing around like statues. Greece now faces Japan in Natal on Thursday in a game that could very well put either team out of contention. Japan lost to Ivory Coast 2-1 in its opener, meaning neither team can really afford another defeat if they hope to advance out of Group C. Japan advanced to the round of 16 four years ago but lost to Paraguay on penalties. Greece has bowed out in the group stage in its previous two World Cups. For Greece, the need to rebuild its solid back line will be all the more important at a World Cup that is so far seeing crowd-pleasing flair in attack and plenty of goals: 44 in the first 14 games. Colombia scored in the fifth minute, forcing Greece out of its comfort zone right from the start and attacking with speed on the flanks. Greek frustration was reflected in two of its players drawing yellow cards in the second half. "That wasnt what people expected," Greece forward Andreas Samaris said. "I know what everyone expected of Greece though: that we would have 11 men behind the ball, defend, defend, defend and give everything to keep a clean sheet. "We went out to win against Colombia, and that philosophy will not change. We just hope it brings a better result for us because Japan is now a must, must-win game for us." Like Colombia, Japan is likely to attack at speed through the Europe-based trio of Shinji Kagawa, Yuto Nagatomo and Keisuke Honda. Against Ivory Coast, Japan had the better of the first half but ultimately struggled as the game got more physical in the second half. The arrival of the Ivorians star striker Didier Drogba as a second-half substitute also raised his teams performance and there was only a muted response from the Japanese. AC Milan midfielder Honda said that the team was determined to bounce back against Greece. "Nobody feels good about losing and obviously it was a shock," Honda, who opened the scoring with a powerful first-half strike, was quoted as saying. "But its not a shock that we lost, the thing that shocks me is we lost because we could not play to our strengths. "We gave our opponents front line too much respect. Mentally we were weak but that is not a problem that cant be fixed. A little bit more spirit can turn things around ... of course we still have an opportunity to get through the group phase." Carlo Pinsoglio Juventus Jersey .m. ET, CBSOPENING LINE — Colts by 5RECORD VS. SPREAD — Cincinnati 8-8, Indianapolis 11-5SERIES RECORD — Colts lead 18-10LAST MEETING — Colts beat Bengals 27-0, Oct. Medhi Benatia Juventus Jersey . - Frankie (The Answer) Edgar dominated B.St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Reaves and Dmitrij Jaskin scored in a 1:45 span late in the second period to snap a tie and send St. Louis to a 3-2 decision over Chicago in a Central Division clash at Scottrade Center. Jaden Schwartz also lit the lamp and Alex Pietrangelo added a pair of assists for the Blues, who put a two-game skid to rest. Brian Elliott made 22 saves for the hosts. Patrick Sharp registered a goal and assist for the Blackhawks, who have dropped back-to-back one-goal games on the road. Kris Versteeg scored, but Antti Raanta took the loss despite 28 stops. The Blues took the lead for good thanks to one controversial and one conventional tally. First, Maxim Lapierre rushed the Blackhawks crease, with the puck caroming back into the slot where Reaves pushed it forward. Play was blown dead without a definitive call being made, but a lengthy review revealed the puck barely crossing the goal line inside the left post and among a mass of bodies in the crease with 1:51 left in the second. Then, Jaskin followed a loose puck in the high slot from a Pietrangelo offering and ripped it home for his second career goal at 19:54. That was a bad goal, Raanta admitted of thee game-winner. Wojciech Szczesny Jersey. Versteeg pulled Chicago to 3-2 at 2:37 of the third, left alone up the middle to accept a Sharp feed and wrist it past Elliott. That was the only shot of 10 that eluded the Blues netminder in the final period. Chicago went with an extra attacker for the final 1:13 of regulation but failed to net an equalizer. Sharp opened the scoring just 62 seconds after the opening faceoff, during a two-man advantage, when he slammed home a Patrick Kane dish from the left post. Schwartz equalized for the hosts at 12:15, when his harmless poke from the slot managed to slip between Raantas pads. We played real well, Pietrangelo said. It was a tough start...but we did a fantastic job of overcoming. Game Notes The Blues have won nine of 15 meetings at home against Chicago since 2009 ... Blackhawks forward Dan Carcillo left the game with an apparent right leg injury and did not return. Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that Carcillo will likely miss 1-to-2 weeks with a right knee issue ... Pietrangelo led all skaters with 25:52 of ice time ... Jaskins only other NHL goal happened against Chicago, on Dec. 28, 2013. ' ' '
      September 5, 2019 7:35 AM CEST
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