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  • May 2, 2018 11:35 PM EDT
    Greece, Japan eye improvement - 6pm et/3pm pt (TSN 1050, TSN 690, TSN 1200, TEAM 1410) Natal, Brazil - Two teams hoping to rebound from tough opening-game losses will meet when Greece clashes with Japan in Group C action Thursday at Estadio das Dunas. [b]Bryan Witzmann Jersey[/b] . Greece was on the wrong end of a 3-0 rout to Colombia in its first game of the tournament. They surrendered a goal in just the sixth minute of the contest, and despite some promising attacking play, failed to crawl back into the match. Japan, on the other hand, struck first in its match with Ivory Coast, with Keisuke Honda putting his side into the lead in the 16th minute. The Elephants picked up serious momentum in the second half, though, scoring in the 64th and 66th minutes to pull ahead and grab a 2-1 victory. Both teams will be looking to hang onto their hopes of pushing through to the knockout stage with a crucial three points. Greek midfielder Georgios Samaras insisted there was reason for his side to remain positive moving forward after being held without a goal. "We have more to give at this tournament, but I think we showed something today," he said. "It was a strange game. For the first five or six minutes, we didnt seem to be 100 percent in it and we conceded a bad goal. But after that, we had a lot of possession, a lot of pressure, and created some quite good chances." Japan boss Alberto Zaccheroni claimed his men gave their all but were not quite cohesive enough. "We werent aggressive enough and we need to improve on that because weve been playing better than that," he said. Honda had his own take on where things went wrong, believing that Japan didnt have enough possession. "Possession, that is our strength," said Honda. "When we have the ball we just need to keep the ball and not give it away easily. When we do lose the ball we should press immediately. That is our philosophy. The last game we lost the ball too easily so that is how we spent a lot of energy in the first half, that is the point. That is why we must concentrate on keeping the ball." Given the defensive lapses that contributed heavily to these teams opening- match defeats, Greece will be looking to build on those aforementioned positives, while Japan will be hoping to stay composed for a full 90 minutes and do better on the ball. Both teams will also be hoping for a draw in the match between Colombia and Ivory Coast, the two teams looming overhead at the top of the group. [b]Eric Fisher Jersey[/b] . UCI President Brian Cookson said Wednesday the commission will investigate allegations "that the UCI has been involved in wrongdoing in the past -- allegations which have done so much to hurt the credibility of the UCI and our sport. [b]Joe Montana Jersey[/b] . He will be practicing with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. - @AnaheimDucks Corey Perry has a knee sprain and will miss the next three to four weeks.CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Quarterback Cam Newton plans to take more ownership of the Carolina Panthers offence without his top four receivers from last season. Steve Smith, the franchises all-time leading receiver, was released and free agents Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon signed with other teams, putting more pressure on Newton to take more of a leadership role entering his fourth season. "Im excited to take this challenge to be this teams leader," Newton said. "More has been given to me on my plate (and) be a leader of men." Newton spoke Tuesday at the team stadium during a break from off-season condition workouts, his first extensive interview since the Panthers lost to the San Francisco 49ers 23-10 in the NFC divisional playoffs in January. Newtons left foot remains in a walking boot after having ankle surgery on March 19. He said he was "surprised" when he learned the Panthers had released Smith, one of the teams most popular players. "If you were in the 704 (area code), you were caught by surprise," Newton said. "Everybody in the Carolinas was surprised, including myself." He said he still communicates with Smith, and hopes the 34-year-old receiver finds success with the Baltimore Ravens. But Newton emphasized the need to move forward as a team. He said hes excited about working with a "hungry" group of receivers that includes Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood. Its possible the Panthers will add a wide receiver or two in the NFL draft next month. "We have a lot of guys that are hungry and ready to prove something in this league," Newton said, "and thats what I want to do as well." Newton was selected to the Pro Bowl last season after leading the Panthers to a 12-4 record and the NFC South championship. But concerns linger over how long it will take Newton to develop chemistry with a new group of wide receivers, especially considering hes not expected to practice until training camp. But an upbeat Newton downplayed any concerns. "We will have plenty of time to deveelop chemistry with receivers," Newton said. [b]Mitch Morse Jersey[/b]. "Just because its organized team functions doesnt mean that we cant (also) meet on our own." Newton has spent much of the off-season working on his college degree from Auburn, but returned Monday to Charlotte so hed have a chance to meet his new teammates. "The first time you interact with a person you can tell by two or three minutes if the relationship is going to work," Newton said. "With my talk with those guys it was great. Everybody is excited. Everybody is ready to accept the challenge. Everybody is trying to find and know their role so they can perfect it." Pro Bowl centre Ryan Kalil believes Newton will continue to develop into a great leader. "The guys who I have always looked up to are the guys who do it on a daily basis and lead by example," Kalil said. "Even though Cam is somebody who likes to get in front of the mike and think hes a lot more entertaining than he really is, he does a great job. He works hard day in and day out in the classroom and on the field." Newton said watching his teammates work out made him eager to get back. Hes never missed a game and its rare when hes skipped a practice -- or any type of event -- since joining the Panthers as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft. "I felt like that lost kid that was in detention and cant go to recess," said Newton, with a laugh. Newton isnt certain when hell start running again. He said the ankle had been bothering him for quite a long time, dating back to his national championship season at Auburn. "It wasnt 100 per cent for a long time," said the former Heisman Trophy winner. "I really didnt know what 100 per cent felt like." Newton said the surgery has afforded him a chance to step back and study more tape and reassess his play. "Its been more helpful for me, mentally," Newton said. "I am always the type of guy that always had to do stuff, workout, workout, workout -- no matter the time or the day. This injury has kind of settled me down, like, How can I get better?" Wholesale Jerseys 2018 NFL Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic China Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys Wholesale ' ' '