Greece, under command of Otto Rehagel played a very defensive game last night against Sweden yet it was still not enough to hold off Sweden who defeated Greece 2-0 in Salzburg, the birth place of King Otto.
Sotiris Kyrgiakos was being trained by Rehagel in the days up to the match against Sweden on man marking techniques since he was the defender chosen to keep an eye on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden’s most dangerous attacker who currently plays for Inter Milan. Kyrgiakos marked well throughout the game almost always beating Zlatan to the headers and constantly following his every move but a few seconds away from his marker was enough for Ibrahimovic to recieve a pass and get a quick and powerful shot (it was a beautiful goal) that easily found its way into the net. Antonis Nikopolidis, the Greece goalkeeper who helped take Greece to many clean sheets at EURO 2004 managed to get a fingertip on the ball but the shot was too powerful for any keeper to save.
The second goal for Sweden was scored by defender Hansson in the 72nd minute and showed to Otto and the Greece players that even though Greece were playing with five defenders (compared to Sweden’s four) and three defensive midfielders the defense will still need to work alot harder if they are to stand any chance against Russia and Spain (Spain beat Russia 4-1 in last night’s other group D match).
Overall, it was a very poor display by the current title holders who look like they will have a hard time trying to defend their cup.
Greece play this Saturday against Russia and Wednesday the 18th of June they will play Spain who have looked very impressive so far after three goals from David Villa and one from Fabregas helped them score 4 goals. Spain played an amazing game with perfect passing, teamwork, co-ordination and a deadly offence, all the qualities the Greece team were lacking last night.