The last two teams to kick-off the tournament saw the defending champions from Greece take on the Swedes from Salzburg. The Greeks in many way embody everything that Americans hate about soccer; notorious for slow play, low pressure, overly-cautious soccer and it was working. The Greeks plan was frustrating the Swedes and the Swedish supporters up until the hour mark in the match, without any real danger up to this point, in the blink of an eye Ibrahimovic was able to break his 14 game international scoring drought, and put the Scandinavians in firm control of the match. At this point the Greeks began to crack and eventually fell apart when Petter Hansson was able to run into a garbage goal that nutmegged Antonis Nikopolidis and sealed the match at 2-0. Though it was by no means attractive, watching the Greeks play was very entertaining to watch; the discipline, patience, and and tactical awareness that they showed was truly memorizing. Perfectly content to play with 5 across the back line, lulling the Swedes to sleep, their were time in the first hour of the match that it looked like Greece would steal a goal, and close down shop, luckily for the Swedes they were able to show the patience necessary to break down Greece, and their efforts were rewarded with two goals, and more importantly three points from their opening match.
The second round of group play begins tomorrow, and I am still holding to my predictions for the most part. although with a loss today, I think that Greece will have a difficult time escaping their group with Spain and Sweden both looking like they will advance.