AGONA Analysis: How the Greeks performed in Rome
The AGONA Analysis takes a closer look at how each individual Greek player performed in the 2-0 defeat to Italy in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying.
A step in the right direction. Yes, this is another defeat for Greece, but the Ethniki Omada finally played with a visible game plan and were close to earning points against Italy after frustrating their opponents for long periods. Jorginho scored the winner for the Italians from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute, before Federico Bernardeschi doubled their lead with a deflected attempt. Italy have now officially qualified for Euro 2020.
Let’s take a closer look at how each Greek player performed in the game:
Alexandros Paschalakis: Overall, it was a positive showing from the PAOK goalkeeper, who made a couple of excellent saves in the second half after not being tested once during the opening 45 minutes. Dived the opposite way when Jorginho scored his penalty and wasn’t helped by a wicked deflection for the second goal.
Konstantinos Stafylidis: Just like the rest of his teammates, he followed the game plan well and rarely made any mistakes with the captain’s armband on his sleeve. Kept the Italians at bay in the first half with strong play defensively.
Dimitris Siovas: The experienced Leganes defender formed a solid partnership with debutant Hatzidiakos in the middle of defence. Not to blame for either of the two goals and did not give his opponents space. A reliable display.
Pantelis Hatzidiakos: Taking into account that he was making his debut for the Ethniki Omada, it would have been understandable had Hatzidiakos played with nerves, but the 22-year-old competed with composure and confidence. If Hatzidiakos continues playing in such a calm manner, he will begin to feature more regularly on the international stage.
Michalis Bakakis: It was a tough day at the office for the AEK right-back. With Italy often attacking through his side of the pitch, Bakakis was constantly being tested, and for the most part he dealt with his task competently. His play in the first half was better than in the second.
Carlos Zeca: Without doubt, the Copenhagen star was one of the best performers at the Stadio Olimpico. Calmly going about his business, Zeca didn’t give Italy an easy route to goal through the midfield, and he brilliantly robbed an opponent of possession to begin a move which ended with Koulouris firing inches wide. The importance of Zeca to this Greek team cannot be underestimated.
Dimitris Kourbelis: The decision to play Kourbelis in midfield rather than in defence proved to be a successful one, as the Panathinaikos leader protected the back line extremely well. Until their opening goal midway through the second half, Italy got very little joy going forward as the Greek midfield refused to give them space.
Andreas Bouchalakis: Unfortunately, while he did play solidly next to Zeca and Kourbelis, he conceded a cheap penalty to Italy as he moved his arm towards the ball at point blank range. Not long later, he created a chance for Bakasetas as he found him with a pinpoint headed pass.
Tasos Bakasetas: In the past, Bakasetas has received plenty of criticism for his performances with the Ethniki, but the 26-year-old attacking midfielder played with commitment and was a genuine threat. Missed an important chance to equalise.
Dimitris Limnios: A lively display from the 2018/2019 Super League champion. In the early stages of the game, he had a fantastic chance to give Greece the lead, but his effort from a tight angle was saved by an alert Gianluigi Donnarumma. His future is bright.
Efthymis Koulouris: His chance in the second half was the best opportunity which Greece had. Connecting with a low pass from the right wing, Koulouris should really have scored, but he contrived to fire into the side netting with the goal gaping. Nevertheless, Koulouris competed with energy and showed good mutual understanding with Limnios.
Anastasios Donis: Applied pressure on the Italian defence with his mobility and pace. Used as a substitute with 23 minutes remaining on the clock, replacing Koulouris.
Dimitris Giannoulis: While he can’t be blamed for attempting to block the shot, an unfortunate ricochet off his leg took Bernardeschi’s attempt beyond Paschalakis. Joined the action in the 75th minute as he replaced Bouchalakis.
Petros Mantalos: Replaced Bakasetas in the 80th minute and did not make any notable contributions.