Greeks fail to utilise numerical advantage

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Greece succumbed in a penalty shootout to a ten-man Costa Rica.

Keylor Navas, who produced several brilliant saves, was rightly named man of the match.

The inscription on the Greek team’s jersey — Attack and Defend as One — is anything but accurate.

Against Costa Rica, they defended as one, but were woefully wasteful in the attacking third and paid the price for it. Their inability to score was never more evident than against a team that was down to 10 men by the 66th minute. The only attacking tactic appeared to be long balls towards Giorgos Samaras, who was closed out by the alert Costa Rican defenders.

After a drab first half, the game sparked into life in the 52nd minute when an unmarked Bryan Ruiz put Costa Rica ahead.

The Greek central defenders and defensive midfielders were busy bringing down Ticos’s creative spark Joey Campbell every time he touched the ball, leaving the captain unmarked and unattended to.

The combination of Gamboa-Ruiz-Campbell not only provided the thrust, but also prevented the Greece left-back Jose Holebas from moving forward to join the attack. But, the script took a turn in the 66th minute when Oscar Duarte saw red for a second bookable offence.

Greece strengthened its attack but could only find the equaliser, not the winner, despite the numerical advantage. Keylor Navas, who produced several brilliant saves, was rightly named man of the match.

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