June 18, 2014

NATAL, Brazil (AP) Greece players insist a dispute during practice was minor and won't affect team harmony heading into Thursday's match against Japan.

Greece lost its opening round match 3-0 to Colombia. The Guardian newspaper in London reported the dustup between Ioannis Maniatis and Georgios Tzavelas in training Wednesday. Their teammates and coach Fernando Santos confirmed a confrontation between the two players but would not divulge details.

The Guardian reported Maniatis threatened to fly home but calmed down and agreed to stay in Brazil.

Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos called the matter ''trivial'' and a good controversy for the media.

The Greek football federation also issued a statement downplaying the incident, saying the team is committed to trying to advance out of the group stage.

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