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 Posted by Chris Paraskevas
Jun 9, 2014

Greece's World Cup predictions

After four years of waiting, the time has come. Another World Cup is here, and our bloggers across all 32 competing countries have each predicted the fate that awaits their team. The country's Outlook gives a general view of its situation ahead of the tournament, while Pitfalls takes a look at any potential problems. Each blogger will also predict the top scorer and breakout star and suggest how far that nation can go.

OUTLOOK

The positive is that there are no fresh injury concerns for head coach Fernando Santos. Kyriakos Papadopoulos was ruled out of the tournament fairly early on and since then there have been a couple of injury scares, but all 23 players appear to be fit and ready. The negative is that Greece has regressed in the goal-scoring department since qualifying. Kostas Mitroglou's form is a concern and the lack of potency up front was highlighted in successive scoreless draws with Portugal and Nigeria. Having said that, Greece were typically solid at the back against Portugal and will be difficult to break down as usual. There is form and depth in defence, and the team looks settled and organized.

PITFALLS

There is a real problem for Greece at left-back and this is an issue that stretches back to the previous World Cup in South Africa. No adequate replacement has been found for the hugely underrated Takis Fyssas since his retirement, with Jose Holebas the latest incumbent. Holebas -- who was born in Germany -- spent the early years of his career as an attacker but was converted to a fullback. Perhaps this explains his almost permanent discomfort at the international level. He was woefully out of his depth at Euro 2012 and was dropped during the tournament. Santos can't afford to start him at the World Cup. Holebas isn't a bad footballer by any means, but he is a defensive liability against quality sides. His potential replacement is Georgios Tzavellas, who is a far more solid alternative and simply needs to be first choice in Brazil.

STAR SCORER

I really do think Mitroglou will come good for Greece at this tournament. Dimitris Salpingidis and Georgios Samaras are always likely to chip in with important goals, but Mitroglou can be the talisman and really lead this attack. The Fulham striker is physically imposing, able to finish with both feet and has a natural instinct for goal. His raw qualities have convinced Santos to build the Greek attack around him. Mitroglou is Greece's most dangerous player and has the talent to fire his country into the knockout stages.

Greece will be leaning on striker Kostas Mitroglou to be in fine form in Brazil.
Greece will be leaning on striker Kostas Mitroglou to be in fine form in Brazil.

WILD CARD

Ioannis Fetfatzidis, based on his club form this season and his performances in the friendly matches leading up to the tournament is Greece's wild card. The 23-year-old is a busy player who is capable of beating defenders and creating space for his teammates. He is an atypical modern Greek footballer: diminutive in size but possessing creativity and pace on the ball. There's no doubt that he deserves to start against Colombia, but the big question is whether Santos trusts him enough to replace either Samaras or Salpingidis.

PREDICTION: Last 16.

First in Group C, with a tally of 10 goals and nine points. In all seriousness, Greece are probably the favourites to finish last in this group. They don't possess the attacking firepower of any of their rivals, though they arguably boast one of the best defensive units in world football. If they can get a point off Colombia in their first match, they'll quality for the Last 16. If they lose that game, however, it's curtains.