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NATAL, Brazil -- Rock-solid defenders who constantly chase, tackle and bully their opponents have been the key to Greece tactics ever since they became European champions in 2004. A decade ago, that team conceded a miserly four goals at Euro 2004 and its successor only conceded four in qualifying to secure its place at the 2014 World Cup as Greece stayed true to its reputation for hard work and ruthless discipline at the back. That all changed when the squad arrived in Brazil. The teams much-vaunted defence was torn apart in a 3-0 defeat by Colombia, whose display of speed and style sometimes left the Greeks standing around like statues. Greece now faces Japan in Natal on Thursday in a game that could very well put either team out of contention. Japan lost to Ivory Coast 2-1 in its opener, meaning neither team can really afford another defeat if they hope to advance out of Group C. Japan advanced to the round of 16 four years ago but lost to Paraguay on penalties. Greece has bowed out in the group stage in its previous two World Cups. For Greece, the need to rebuild its solid back line will be all the more important at a World Cup that is so far seeing crowd-pleasing flair in attack and plenty of goals: 44 in the first 14 games. Colombia scored in the fifth minute, forcing Greece out of its comfort zone right from the start and attacking with speed on the flanks. Greek frustration was reflected in two of its players drawing yellow cards in the second half. "That wasnt what people expected," Greece forward Andreas Samaris said. "I know what everyone expected of Greece though: that we would have 11 men behind the ball, defend, defend, defend and give everything to keep a clean sheet. "We went out to win against Colombia, and that philosophy will not change. We just hope it brings a better result for us because Japan is now a must, must-win game for us." Like Colombia, Japan is likely to attack at speed through the Europe-based trio of Shinji Kagawa, Yuto Nagatomo and Keisuke Honda. Against Ivory Coast, Japan had the better of the first half but ultimately struggled as the game got more physical in the second half. The arrival of the Ivorians star striker Didier Drogba as a second-half substitute also raised his teams performance and there was only a muted response from the Japanese. AC Milan midfielder Honda said that the team was determined to bounce back against Greece. "Nobody feels good about losing and obviously it was a shock," Honda, who opened the scoring with a powerful first-half strike, was quoted as saying. "But its not a shock that we lost, the thing that shocks me is we lost because we could not play to our strengths. "We gave our opponents front line too much respect. Mentally we were weak but that is not a problem that cant be fixed. A little bit more spirit can turn things around ... of course we still have an opportunity to get through the group phase." Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . Certainly not Monday night. George Hill took care of the early work, scoring a season-high 26 points, and Paul George closed it out by scoring 11 of his 26 points during a decisive second-half stretch that finally allowed Indiana to pull away from Minnesota 98-84 for yet another win. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . JOHNS, N. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link.. Top-seeded Djokovic, who is making only his second appearance this year after reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over 54th-ranked Istomin of Uzbekistan. "It wasnt as easy as the scoreline indicates," said Djokovic, who has won in Dubai on four occasions. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . -- Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will be sidelined for at least two weeks because of a strained calf muscle, and pitcher C. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . 1-9 on TSN. With more than 65 hours of exclusive live coverage, TSN delivers all the action beginning with Draw 1 on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer were among the third-round winners Friday at the French Open. Neither advanced easily, though, as both needed four sets. Djokovic came away with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4 victory over Croatias Marin Cilic and Federer earned a 7-5, 6-7 (7-9), 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Russian Dmitry Tursunov. The second-seeded Djokovic won his eighth straight match. He entered the years second Grand Slam after capturing the Italian Masters, which included a victory over Rafael Nadal in the final, and won each of his first two matches this week in straight sets. Cilic, it appeared, would meet the same fate after the first two sets, but he dominated the third-set tiebreaker. Djokovic then earned an early break for a 2-0 edge in the fourth before Cilic battled back with a break and evened the set at 4-4. Djokovic held again and Cilic was ahead in the next game before the Serb won the last three points, the final one coming on a Cilic double fault. "First two sets and beginning of the third I had some chances to break him and kind of get the job done in straight sets, but he started playing a little bit better," said Djokovic. "He played great, the end of the third, especially in the tiebreak. I complicated my own life there in the fourth. But generally it was a difficult match from different aspects." Djokovic improved to 9-0 all-time against Cilic and will next play French crowd favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The 13th seed cruised to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over Polands Jerzy Janowicz to reach the fourth round for the fifth time in the last six years. Tsonga was a semifinalist last year, losing to David Ferrer. Federer, meanwhile, also won his first two matches in straight sets this week before a test from Tursunov on Friday. The Moscow native fought off 17-of-21 break-point chances before finally falling. The third-round exit tied his best finish in 11 appearances at the French Open. The fourth-seeded Federer, the only French mens champion in the draw outsiide of eight-time winner Nadal, also beat Tursunov earlier this year in the third round at Indian Wells and advanced to a fourth-round meeting with Latvias Ernests Gulbis.dddddddddddd "Im pleased to be through," said Federer, the 2009 champion. "Like expected, it was not a straight-forward, easy match. I knew that Dmitry was going to try different things, play aggressive, serve well and then take big cuts at the ball. Thats kind of how it went." Gulbis, coming off a win last week at the French Open tune-up in Nice, eased past Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, to reach the fourth round for the second time at Roland Garros. He made the quarterfinals in 2008 before falling to Djokovic. Sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych needed four sets to dispose of Spains Roberto Bautista Agut, claiming a 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 triumph to reach the fourth round for only the fourth time in 11 appearances at Roland Garros. The Czechs best finish was a run to the semifinals in 2010. American John Isner is next for Berdych. The 10th seed went more than three hours to complete a 7-6 (15-13), 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 victory over Spains Tommy Robredo. Isner had never beaten a Spaniard in a Grand Slam in five previous attempts and became the first American since Robby Ginepri in 2010 to reach the round of 16 in Paris. Eighth-seeded Milos Raonic outlasted Frenchman Gilles Simon in five sets, rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Raonic became the first Canadian to reach the fourth round in the French capital and will next play the winner between Spains Marcel Granollers and Slovakias Martin Klizan. Darkness nearly stopped Raonic and did halt the Granollers-Klizan match after three sets. It will resume Saturday with Granollers holding a 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) advantage. Saturdays third-round action also includes the top-seeded Nadal against Argentinas Leonardo Mayer, the fifth-seeded Ferrer against Italys Andreas Seppi and seventh-seeded Andy Murray against Germanys Philipp Kohlschreiber. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. ' ' '

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