Skibbe: “We Will be in Russia, Whoever Doesn't Want to Play Can Leave”

- Skibbe: “We Will be in Russia, Whoever Doesn't Want to Play Can Leave” -

In yesterday’s pre-game press conference, Michael Skibbe seemed hopeful that Greece will qualify for the upcoming World Cup in Russia. He expressed confidence in his players’ abilities and sent a clear “message” to all. Many players are expected to play in tonight’s friendly.

Greece will play their final friendly before World Cup Qualifying begins on Tuesday. The Galanolefki will face a tough Dutch side in Eindhoven today at 2:45 PM (EST). Greek coach, Michael Skibbe, is expected to give opportunities to many players in today’s friendly before Tuesday’s qualifier against Gibraltar. A possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1 formation) will consist of Karnezis (Goalkeeper), Torosidis (right back), Papastathopoulos (central defender), Manolas (central defender), Stafylidis (left back), Petsos (defensive midfielder), Samaras (defensive midfielder), Gianniotas/Mandalos (right wing), Cholebas (left wing), Fortounis (attacking midfielder), and Mitroglou (striker).

In the pre-game press conference Skibbe stated “It is important that we do not have any injuries these first days. We are happy to start with all of our players for yet another friendly and after, finally, the qualifiers will begin.”

“For yet another game we will see many players. In the case with other National teams, especially ours, it is difficult because the Greek SuperLeague has not started and some players that play abroad don't play and don't have games under their legs.”

“Surely we will make all of our substitutions in this final friendly. Yet again, it is an important game, but from Tuesday on, we are only playing for the results and points. We surely do not lack quality and together we need to build a good team chemistry. If we have that, we can play against any team, because we truly believe that we have the players that can go up against any other team, and any other player.

“It is a major advantage to us that we have had 7-8 months to prepare for our first official game. I have a good idea of our goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and attackers. I know what I can expect from my players. We have given six friendlies with six different results, criticisms, and performances on the field.”

"In the games we lost, many of our players were missing and we believe we would have had better results with all of our players there. It is important to know what to do if Papastathopoulos or Mitroglou became injured, and that is why I am happy with these 8 months. I fully know my players.

“I have said from the beginning that I wanted to have this structure or base. From one theory I believe it is important to give the responsibilities to experienced players and on the other hand it is important to give opportunities to younger players who have not played many times with the National Team, for example Mantalos, Stafylidis, and Bakasetas. Slowly these players will be integrated into the team. In the end, however, that player that has the ability and talent will play and he will show it on the pitch.”

“Generally I have decided on a formation, but it always depends on the specific game. Again, I have a good idea of my players’ abilities, since I have had 8 months to prepare. I am extremely confident in the players that I chose and I believe that they want and will give everything they have to go to Russia in 2018. Whoever doesn't want to follow, needs to leave.”

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