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Pekerman wary of Greece
Jun 14, 2014 2:10 AM EST
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman has spoken about his respect for Greece ahead of their clash on Saturday.
One of the FIFA World Cup dark horses, Colombia open their campaign with the meeting at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.
Pekerman is wary of Fernando Santos' outfit and particularly those who helped them to surprise glory at Euro 2004.
"We are aware of Greece's history and their present situation. Their recent past has been good, both in previous World Cups and at the Euros, especially with that title in 2004," he told a news conference.
"We know they still have a few players from that time, which allowed them to seal a spot in this World Cup, despite their difficult qualifying group. That's why we respect those footballers.
"They are important players. Some of them are better known than others, but they have also added young good players.
"All of that generation, like (Giorgos) Karagounis, (Kostas) Katsouranis, (Dimitris) Salpingidis, (Giorgos) Samaras and (Kostas) Mitroglou have been mixed with other key players like Sokratis (Papastathopoulos) or (Vasilis) Torosidis.
"They are a good side and they are such a competitive team."
Pekerman said he expected to take on an 'aggressive' team as he described Greece as a 'tough rival' in a group that also includes Japan and the Ivory Coast.
"They are aggressive. They know how to play well according to their style and their head coach knew how to make them stronger," he said.
"He has added new things to the team, while keeping their identity. No doubt we'll be playing against a tough rival tomorrow."