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Costa Rica wary of Greek catenaccio


AP6_24_2014_000260BRecife (Brazil):  Costa Rica are determined to score first when they tackle Greece in the World Cup last 16 in Recife tomorrow.

Greece have developed a reputation over the years of being extremely hard to break down, particularly if they take the lead.

They have almost perfected the classic Italian system of catenaccio (bolt-lock) in which teams would play in an ultra defensive way and hope to score a single goal on the counter-attack to take a lead they would then defend.

And Los Ticos technical assistant Luis Marin said his team need to score early to prevent Greece from taking the lead and then shutting up shop.

“It’s crucial for us to score early in the game, especially as Greece are known to tighten up at the back once they score,” said Marin.

“But we know it’s going to be a tough game all round. Although they lost to Colombia (3-0), the goals they conceded were down to simple mistakes. Greece are also potent on the counter-attack.”

He added: “Penalties could play a role at some point. They are a part of the game and although we hope it doesn’t happen, we have to prepare for every scenario.

“We’ve been practising shooting from the penalty spot.”

Costa Rica emerged as one of the form teams of the group stages, stunning Uruguay and then Italy before drawing with England to finish top of Group D.

Greece only just squeezed into the knockout round by the skin of their teeth, Giorgios Samaras converting a late penalty to hand Fernando Santos’s men a decisive 2-1 win over Ivory Coast to book their first ever last 16 appearance. It was only Greece’s second goal in three matches.

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