DURBAN - Focus, focus, focus. Greece coach Otto Rehhagel is not talking much to the media before his team's World Cup opener against South Korea but there is little doubt what message he has given his players.
The septuagenarian German, who built a team good enough to win Euro 2004 on the back of superb organisation and gritty defending, is clearly aiming to use the same recipe in South Africa, starting on Saturday in Port Elizabeth.
"We must be focused throughout the match," striker Giorgos Samaras told a news conference at the team's training ground at a north Durban school on Thursday.
"I don't think it's going to be an open match, both teams will be careful. It's the first match and if you lose the first match your chances of getting through to the next round are limited."
Samaras picked out Manchester United's Park Ji-sung and his own Celtic team mate Ki Sung-yong as being South Korea's more talented players but said the team, like Greece, were more than a sum of their parts.
"Teamwork is the secret of their success, like us," he said. "We have the same thing, we work as a team. That's why I said it's going to be a close match, it's the opening match and we're both going to be playing the same way with the same mentality."
Defender Avraam Papadopoulos, one of the main contenders to replace the injured Vangelis Moras in central defence, made it clear that he had not only got the message about focus, but believed it could be Greece's edge.
"We are extremely focused because we want to show the best we can play ... We must be focused to take control of the match," he said.
"Small factors like strength, passion and focus will determine success and I believe we have those elements to win the match."
With Argentina and Nigeria making up the rest of Group B, some have suggested a draw on Saturday might not be the worst result for either team's chances of making the last 16.
"You can't tell whether a draw would be a good result, you never know," countered Samaras. "We have to focus for 90 minutes, be determined and dedicated to the victory.
"Everybody knows that if you play for two results, win or draw, a lot of times you end up with nothing."comments