Who Will Be Called-up for Greece’s Qualifier Against Belgium
Greece's big match against Belgium in World Cup Qualifying is quickly approaching and AGONAsport.com looks into who Michael Skibbe will call-up to the national team for the crucial matchup.
Any day now, Michael Skibbe will announce the 23-man national team roster that will face off against Belgium on March 25th in FIFA World Cup Qualifying. Skibbe has traveled all over Greece and Europe scouting many Greek players as he prepares for the big fixture against the group leaders.
Since taking over, Skibbe has implemented the closed club philosophy and drastic changes are not expected in the roster. However, due to the injury problems of Karnezis and Karelis, and the suspension of Kyriakos Papadopoulos, some changes will be made.
Goalkeepers: Glykos (PAOK) will likely be the new #1 for Greece after Karnezis (Udinese) was ruled out for Greece’s match against Belgium due to an injury. Kyriakidis (Panetolikos), who was called up in November, will likely be Greece’s #2. Kapino (Olympiacos) will be the favorite for the third goalkeeper position while Barkas (AEK) and Sifakis (Kortrijk) are other possible options.
Left Back: Stafylidis (Augsburg) and Tzavellas (Alanyaspor) will for sure be called up. Lykogiannis (Sturm Graz), who has had a great season in Austria, could be a surprise call-up.
Right Back: Torosidis (Bologna) is the only for sure call-up and could be the only right back on the roster. However, within the team other players such as Papastathopoulos and Maniatis could play the position if needed.
Center Backs: Papastathopoulos (Dortmund), Manolas (Roma), and Oikonomou (Bologna) will be called up. One other player will be added for this position with Koutroubis (Panathinaikos), who was called up in November, the favorite to claim the spot. Another worthy option includes Siovas (Leganes). A reminder that Kyriakos Papadopoulos has been suspended for the match against Belgium.
Center Midfielders: For sure call-ups include Samaris (Benfica), Tziolis (Hearts), Maniatis (Atromitos), Mantalos (AEK), Fortounis (Olympiacos), and Tachtsidis (Cagliari). Siopis (Panionios) will be in the running (called up in November) while Olympiacos youngster Androutsos is a heavy outsider. Panathinaikos captain Carlos Zeca will get his Greek passport in the coming days and could quickly receive his first call-up to Greece’s National Team.
Wingers: Gianniotas (APOEL) will definitely be called up. Greece has limited players in this position, however Christodoulopoulos (AEK) could be making a return to the international level while Mystakidis (PAOK) is likely to get his first call-up. Other options include Manthatis (Olympiacos) and Mavrias (Karlsruher), who have been on Skibbe's radar.
Strikers: Mitroglou (Benfica), who is in the best form of his career, will be the #9 for Greece. Other favorable call-ups include Bakasetas (AEK) and Diamantakos (Karlsruher). Vellios has lost his starting position with Nottingham Forest and could miss out while in form Donis (Nice) could be "steal" the spot. Nikos Karelis will be a huge loss for Greece’s attack as he suffered an ACL injury in January.
Final Predictions for the 23-man roster:
Glykos, Kyriakidis, Kapino
Papastathopoulos, Manolas, Oikonomou, Koutroubis/Siovas, Tzavellas, Stafylidis, Torosidis
Maniatis, Samaris, Tziolis, Tachtsidis, Mantalos, Fortounis, Siopis, Zeca, Giannitoas, Mystakidis
Bakasetas, Mitroglou, Diamantakos