We are just over a 3rd of the way through our 32 team guide of the World Cup 2014, analysing teams who have named their 23 men squads, luckily some have named them, otherwise doing 32 in 10 days would have been a challenge! The rest are set to name their squads in the next few days.
Today, we move on to Greece – a team who shocked world football by winning Euro 2004. Recently they have been hard to beat, and very good defensively. 5 of their 8 group wins were 1-0’s, under new coach Fernando Santos they have also added in a bit of attacking flair. Here is our analysis of them:
GK’s: Orestis Karnezis, Panagiotis Glykos, Stefanos Kapino
DF’s: Kostas Manolas, Giannis Maniatis, Jose Holebas, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Giorgios Tzavellas, Loukas Vyntra, Vasilis Torosidis, Vangelis Moras
MF’s: Alexandros Tziolis, Andreas Samaris, Kostas Katsouranis, Giorgos Karagounis, Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Ioannis Fetfatzidis, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Panagiotis Kone
FW’s: Dimitris Salpingidis, Giorgios Samaras, Konstantinos Mitroglou, Theofanis Gekas
Coach – Fernando Santos
Missing: Kyriakos Papadopoulos – the Schalke Centre back has had a torrid two years, full of constant injuries. For this reason, he did not make the squad.
Greece were in a rather easy group – the main challenge being Bosnia. Latvia, Lithuania and Liechtenstein were all poor, Slovakia were decent. Greece ended with the same points as Bosnia, but lost out on Goal Difference. They went into the playoffs, and got the most favourable draw in Romania. Over the 2 legs, they won 3-1 and draw 1-1, 4-2 on Aggregate.
Ones to Watch:
Dimitris Salpingidis – With Kostas Mitroglu severely lacking match practice after just 2 games for Fulham (after his £12.2m move in January), this man is their in-form striker. He may start out wide, but he holds the key to their chances of qualifying from the group.
Ioannis Fetfatzidis – After moving to Italy from Olympiakos, Ioannis has not been in the best of form at Genoa. However, he has still performed for Greece when played. One of their most talented players, it is down to him to create the chances for Salpingidis and Mitroglu.
Kostas Manolas – the Olympiakos centre back has been impressive in recent years, putting in many a top performance for club and country. With Papadopoulos out, a partnership with Papastathopoulos, who was voted in the Bundesliga team of the season, could be fantastic!
(4-3-3): Karnezis, Torosidis, Manolas, Papastathopoulos, Holebas, Tziolis, Maniatis, Katsouranis, Fetfatzidis, Salpingidis, Mitroglu.
A very good looking starting 11, with lots of experience! With Colombia, Japan and Ivory Coast in their group, it’s a difficult one to predict. Everyone is expecting Colombia to win the group, but any of the other three could go through in 2nd place.
Winner – 250/1
Group Winner – 6/1
To Qualify – 15/8
Over 2.5 Points – 11/10
Stage of Elimination: Group Stage – 2/5
It’s a toughy! Any side in this group could qualify – all have their merits, but it depends who starts well. Greece have a good starting 11, with the likes of Samaras and Karagounis likely to be on the bench – so experienced all-round. Unfortunately, we see them exiting early, with 2/5 to go out at the Group Stage a good price. Our Top Tip is Over 2.5 Points at 11/10, I think they will sneak a cheeky 1-0 win against either Japan or Ivory Coast, but still exit.