NATAL, Brazil (AP) — In desperate search of goals, Greece was set to start striker Kostas Mitroglou to lead the attack against Japan in a must-win game for both countries at the Arenas das Dunas.
Mitroglou, who was injured for much of the last season for Fulham in the Premier League, was used as a late substitute in Greece's 3-0 opening loss to Colombia. Greece has scored just two goals in seven games in its World Cup history while surrendering 18.
Coach Fernando Santos also kept Yiannis Maniatis in midfield despite a reported training camp dispute with Georgios Tzavelas. Maniatis reportedly threatened to leave Brazil and Santos had deflected questions before the match whether the incident would prompt him to drop Maniatis against Japan.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni made only one change to the lineup he used in a 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast, dropping midfielder Shinji Kagawa in a surprise move and putting veteran striker Yoshito Okubo up front with Europe-based star Keisuke Honda.
Japan: Eiji Kawashima, Atsuto Uchida, Keisuke Honda, Yuto Nagamoto, Shinji Okazaki, Yoshito Okubo, Yasuyuki Konno, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Makoto Hasebe, Yuya Osako and Maya Yoshida.
Greece: Orestis Karnezis; Yiannis Maniatis , Kostas Manolas; Georgios Samaras, Panagiotis Kone, Kostas Mitroglou, Vasilis Torosidis, Yiannis Fetfatzidis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Jose Holebas and Costas Katsouranis.