Ever the dark-horses, Greece qualified for the European Championships in style ahead of Croatia.
Despite having one of the most predictable and drilled styles in the international arena, Greece are masters of utilising their system and will not be taken lightly by anyone.
FIFA Ranking: 14
Elo Ranking: 26
Best Performance at European Championships: Winners (2004) Greece surprised the world when they defeated Portugal to win the 2004 European Championships. Emerging from the group stage with four points they disposed of reigning champions France, the highly fancied Czech Republic and then beat the hosts in the final.
How they qualified: Winners of Group F Greece qualified unbeaten having won seven of their ten matches in Group F. They finished ahead of Croatia, who they took four points from, and Israel.
The Boss: Fernando Santos The Portuguese manager was given the almost impossible task of repeating the successes of Otto Rehhagel when he took charge of Greece in 2010. His managerial career started in fine style as he took tiny Estoril into the top flight. In 1998 he was given the role as Porto manager, winning two league titles and two Portuguese cups. He won the Greek Cup with AEK Athens in 2002 before a season at local rivals Panathinaikos. He returned home to Portugal in 2003, this time with Sporting, who he led to the Champions League quarter-finals. He was pack at AEK a year later before taking on the job at Benfica. In 2010 he was confirmed as manager of Greece.
One to watch: Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Schalke) The return of Sotiris Ninis may be the biggest reason for optimism in the Greek camp, but with their game so predicated on defensive discipline it will be their rear-guard who define what sort of tournament they have. Schalke’s 20-year-old defender Kyriakos Papdopoulos has caught the eye in recent games, despite being on the fringes of the XI. Having made his professional debut for Olympiakos at just 15 years old, the defender was named in the team of the tournament at the 2007 Under 19 European Championship. He has only played a handful of games for the full national team, but has already scored twice for his country. He’s unlikely to start, but he’s a name to remember.
Likely line-up: Greece have experimented with a defensive 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 in recent matches, sliding from their default 4-5-1. Assuming that is the case, Palermo’s Alexandros Tzorvas finished the qualifiers as the first choice goalkeeper and will likely start the tournament in goals. Avram Papadopoulos and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will be the likely central defensive partnership with Vasilis Torosidis on the right and either Iosef Cholevas or Giorgios Tzavelas on the left. Kostas Katsouranis and Giorgos Karagounis have over 200 caps and 67 years between them, and will form the lynchpin of the midfield. Georgios Foutakis will play slightly more advanced, with the returning Ninis and Giorgios Samaras either side of Theofanis Gekas.
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