Greece and South Korea step up their preparations for this summer’s World Cup finals with a friendly match this Wednesday, March 5, 2014 (9:00 AM Pacific) at the ‘’Georgios Karaiskakis’’ stadium in Piraeus, Greece.
Both teams will use this game as an early test for their encounters against similar opponents in the Group Stage of the tournament in Brazil. Greece face Japan on June 19 at Brasilia for Group C, while South Korea will play against two European teams, Belgium and Russia in Group H.
Many changes for Greece
Greece qualified for the World Cup finals by beating Romania in a two-leg European play-off last year, with a 3-1 win at ‘’Georgios Karaiskakis’’, followed by a 1-1 draw in the second leg away. Since then, there was a serious development in the team, with Portuguese manager Fernando Santos announcing that he will step down after Brazil to resume his career in club football.
The team that will face South Korea will be much changed from the one that beat Romania. Santos is giving opportunities to other players before deciding on his World Cup squad, while there are some players missing through injury. Orestis Karnezis, the regular goalkeeper during the qualifiers, was left out of the squad for this friendly as he is not getting game time for Spanish side Granada, with young Panayiotis Glykos of PAOK getting his first call-up to the national team. Regular central defenders Dimitris Siovas (Olympiakos) and Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund) are injured and Kyriakos Papadopoulos of Schalke is out too, having made his return from injury only recently. In midfield, Bologna’s Panayiotis Kone is injured, the same goes for striker Fanis Gekas.
Goalkeepers: Panayiotis Glykos (PAOK), Alexandros Tzorvas (Apollon Smyrnis).
Defenders: Vassilis Torosidis (Roma/ITA), Loukas Vyntra (Levante/ESP), Costas Manolas, Jose Holebas (both Olympiakos), Giorgos Tzavellas (PAOK).
Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor/TUR), Yiannis Maniatis, Andreas Samaris (both Olympiakos), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham/ENG), Costas Katsouranis (PAOK).
Forwards: Costas Mitroglou (Fulham/ENG), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna/ITA), Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK), Giannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa/ITA), Giorgos Samaras (Celtic/SCO), Dimitris Papadopoulos (Atromitos).
Park Chu-young back for South Korea
South Korea manager Hong Myung-bo has named a strong 24-man squad for this friendly, as the Taeguk Warriors continue their preparations for Brazil. The biggest news in his selection is the return of striker Park Chu-young, who returns to the national squad for the first time in a year. His move to Arsenal did not work and he could not get matches under his belt, but after moving to the English Championship side Watford, the manager decided to give him one more chance to prove his worth.
All the other big names of the team were included in the squad, like Sunderland’s Ki Sung-yeung, Bolton’s Lee Chung-yong and Koo Ja-cheol of German side FC Meinz, alongside younger players that have European football experience like Son Heung-min of Bayer Leverkusen and Ji Dong-won of FC Augsburg.
South Korea squad:
Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-ryong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Hyundai).
Defenders: Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal), Hong Jeong-ho (Augusburg), Hwang Seok-ho (Hirosima Sanfrecce), Cha Du-ri (FC Seoul), Kim Jin-soo (Albirex Niigata), Lee Yong (Ulsan Hyundai), Park Joo-ho (FSV Mainz 05), Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande).
Midfielders: Kim Bo-kyung (Cardiff City), Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan), Koo Ja-cheol (FSV Mainz 05), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton), Ki Sung-yueng (Sunderland), Nam Tae-hee (Lekhwiya SC), Park Jong-woo (Guangzhou R&F), Han Kook-young (Shonan Bellmare).
Forwards: Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen), Ji Dong-won (Augusburg), Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-young (Watford), Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan Hyundai).
Greece vs South Korea Prediction
Greece want to avenge their 2-0 defeat by the South Koreans in the Group Stage of the 2010 World Cup, but it could be tricky, as they are not used to their opponents’ style, and their best striker, Kostas Mitroglou of Fulham FC, only recently returned from injury and is not 100% match fit. The most likely score in this Greece vs South Korea friendly is a 0-0 draw.
Greece vs South Korea Television
The Greece vs South Korea match will not be televised in the USA.
The Greece vs South Korea Highlights will be uploaded as soon as the match ends.