We got in touch with a few Greek-Japanese world cup fans to ask them about how they feel for the decisive Greece vs Japan clash tomorrow. The crucial World Cup match that will show which team might advance in the tournament starts at 7 pm local time in Natal, Brazil.
Christos Makiyama and Effie Ando Kontaxaki, both are indecisive over who to support, same way when your parents’ get a divorce and are clueless over whose side to take. The latter will be watching it in London, where she lives and works for a Japanese bank. Her mother, full blooded Japanese, who resides in Ilioupolis, Athens, will be routing for Japan. “But what about you? Who will you go for?” we ask. Effie, who grew up in Athens, but studied in the prestigious Nihon University in Tokyo, says “I don’t know! I’d rather they tied but I know if they do so, they’ll both be out! Maybe Japan, because they are more strategic and have better chances in the knockout stage if they qualify”.
On the other hand, Aimilia Damigou whose father was born in Piraeus and her mother is Japanese, supports the Greek National team full-heartedly because she prefers European football over the Asian League.
“There is more competition in Europe and I believe that teams are better there and because I am also Greek I will root for Greece,” says Damigou from her Okinawa home.
When asked who her favorite players are, Damigou replied “I like Giorgos Samaras from Greece and Keisuke Honda from the Japanese team.”
Christos Makiyama, who was born in Japan but grew up between Cyprus and Greece, informs us over a Skype call that even though baseball is the No1 sport in Japan, the World Cup is the most talked about event right now on news media outlets in Yokohama where he and his family live. The USA has a major influence over the Japanese culture in recent years, however that hasn’t stopped the Japanese from loving football, a sport not exactly praised in the States.
“The games take place early in the morning in Japan, so people watch the games on their tablets or smartphones while heading to work. Everyone on the metro have their heads set on the games. There is a lot of interest and support for Japan’s national team,” says Christos.
The Greek-Japanese entrepreneur played football in Cyprus and Greece but once he moved back to Japan he settled and let it go, however his knowledge over the game is impressive.
“Samaras and Karagounis are names you hear quite a lot, since all the sport talk shows are concentrating on Greece’s style of play” We ask him the same question we asked Effie and his response was bizarrely interesting “I’m watching it in Yokohama, so I’m going to root for Greece. If I was in Greece, I would root for Japan!”.
I tell him that Japan is considered a fast paced, highly talented team, which lacks strength and stamina compared to most other players who play for better professional leagues. He disagrees.
“That’s not the issue. The issue is they become conservative during the game. Against Ivory Coast, Japan took the lead and then sat back.” I argue that Japan’s intention once they took the lead was to protect it and what a better way to do so than to defend. He comes back by reminding me of Japan’s friendly game against Cyprus, where Japan scored in the first half and then played safely. “They played safely against Cyprus? Who? Cyprus!” He was right. Too be honest though, Greece was not any better in its qualifying games. 5 games ended with 1-0 including 2 of them against powerless Liechtenstein.
Giorgos and Jessica, Effie’s children, who grew up in Greece, oddly, will be supporting Japan. She adds “Greece plays with heart. Just like its people. They don’t follow any tactics”. I nod my head in front of the camera. The Greek nation is not known to do well with rules and conditions. “Japan, on the contrary is tactful. They will use their brains, study the opponent and play accordingly. That’s why I think they have more chances.”
About 15 members of the Greek-Japanese HAFU group will be getting together at the Athens Heart bar at the Athens Mall. For them it’s a once in a lifetime experience, since a Japanese channel will be broadcasting live while they send kisses and gesture peace signs to their families in Japan. I saw the first game and was pleased with Greece’s mentality. They went down a goal early in the game, but didn’t give up. Eventually they lost but it was one of the few times I’ve seen them dominate. I hope Greece plays similarly against Japan.” says Effie. “You seem to know a lot about football” I respond. “I actually never cared for it. I only care for Orestis Karnezis. He’s cute.”
Join us to watch LIVE the Greece vs Japan game tomorrow on greekreporter.com.