5 things to know about Greece, the Blues’ final opponent in 2023

5 things to know about Greece, the Blues’ final opponent in 2023

The French national team will conclude the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers with a trip to Greece on Tuesday (8:45 p.m.). A nation seeking its former glory.

Greece has already returned to dams

No risks in Athens this Tuesday: France has already qualified for Euro 2024, and Greece knows it will have to go through the qualifiers. Third place in Group Two (4 wins and 3 defeats), and was no longer able to catch up with the Netherlands. She is now eagerly awaiting the qualifying draw on Thursday in order to find out her opponent in the semi-finals of Track C, which also includes Georgia, Kazakhstan and Luxembourg. The playoffs will not be held until March 2024.

The slow decline of the sport since Euro 2004

Nearly 20 years ago, Greece was on top of Europe, much to everyone’s surprise, beating Portugal in the UEFA Euro 2004 final in Lisbon (1-0). The beginning of a promising era, with Sadiq’s journey in the 2012 European Championship (quarter-finals) and the 2014 World Cup (round of 16). But since then, Greece has not played any major tournament. “There was no good infrastructure at all, and with the economic crisis many investments in football were cut», Sorry Giorgos Karagounis So foot in June.

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The player who participated most in the history of the national team (139 matches), European champion in 2004, Karagounis points out: “It is very difficult to build, and much easier to destroyIn February 2022, Greece appointed Uruguayan Gustavo Boyet, former coach of Bordeaux (2018), as coach. Failure to exit the upcoming qualifiers, as its strongest opponent on paper will be Georgia (76).H In the FIFA rankings) it would be a miserable failure.

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Who are his star players?

If Greece, 51H A global country, in the mathematical situation we have described, also because it does not have loud names. If we had to name a star, it would be Liverpool’s substitute left-back, Kostas Tsimikas, seen against Toulouse in the Europa Conference League on November 9 (TFC win 3-2). Aged 27, he won the FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield with the Reds in 2022.

Kostas Tsimikas with Liverpool in October 2023. David Blunsden / Action Plus / Panoramic

For the rest, we can think of the captain of the lineup, attacking midfielder Anastasios Bakasetas (Basaksehir), West Ham defender Kostas Mavropanos or attacking midfielder Vangelis Pavlidis, not necessarily a starter for Greece despite his 13 goals in 11 Eredivisie. Matches at AZ Alkmaar Stadium.

Why the nickname “Pirate Ship”?

They are called “Piratiko” or “Pirate Ship”. This title is rarely used for the Greek national team. It was born in 2004, after its victory in the opening match of the Euro Championship over Portugal, the host country (1-2). During the opening ceremony, a replica of a large ship was deployed in reference to the Portuguese maritime heritage.

Greece’s surprise victory inspired journalists to call the players pirates and the team a pirate ship. A title that would have been forgotten had Greece not made it past the first round of the Euros. But it continued to amaze Europe until it found Portugal in the final to achieve another victory against the run of play.

Greece, a bad memory for France

You’re not done hearing about Euro 2004 in this article yet. The French team consisting of Thuram, Zidane and Henry, which was crowned four years ago, fell hard to Greece’s Angelos Charistias, with the only header in the quarter-finals (0-1). This is the only confrontation between the two teams outside of friendly and playoff matches, and the only defeat for the Blues in 9 matches (7 wins and one draw).

Last June, France won after a poor performance (1-0) with a penalty kick from Kylian Mbappe. However, the flight to Athens on Tuesday had nothing in common. The Blues have not played in Greece since 2 September 1972. It was a friendly match in Piraeus which France won (1-3) with goals from Henri Michel, Hervé Revelli and Jean-Michel Larque.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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