AGONA Analysis: How the Greeks performed in the defeat to Armenia
The AGONA Analysis takes a closer look at how the Greeks performed in the shock 2:3 loss to Armenia in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying.
The Greek national team seem to be intent on hitting rock bottom. On Saturday, the Ethniki Omada conceded a lacklustre 0:3 defeat to Italy at the Olympic Stadium, and the players have now come up short against Armenia 2:3 in Athens in a hugely damaging result. Greece now trail second-placed Finland by five points.
Let’s take a closer look at how each Greek player performed:
Odisseas Vlachodimos: The Benfica star endured a poor night by his high standards. Vlachodimos appeared nervy when charging off his line, and while he was largely powerless for the final two Armenian goals, he never looked overly confident. Not a day to remember with fondness.
Leonardo Koutris: On the left side of defence, the talented Olympiacos full-back made plenty of meaningful sprints as he aimed to assist the attack, but there was a certain lack of end product to his play. His excellent season in Piraeus wasn’t backed up with this mediocre showing.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: The commanding Arsenal centre-back has had two matches to forget this week. Just like against Italy, the 30-year-old was shaky in the middle of defence, failing to deal with the Armenian counterattacks and horribly exposed for the second goal. Played well below his normally high standards.
Dimitris Siovas: Another disappointing match for the Leganes star. Pairing Papastathopoulos in defence instead of Kostas Manolas, he didn’t play in an assured manner, especially when Armenia caught Greece cold on the break. Played too slowly and did not settle into proceedings.
Charalampos Mavrias: Received an injury in the early stages and was consequently substituted in the 17th minute.
Carlos Zeca: Eight minutes into the second half, the FC Copenhagen managed to get Greece on the board, sliding a low attempt under the Armenian goalkeeper after a clever assist from Kostas Fortounis. Fought hard, tried to give the team momentum and displayed endeavour.
Andreas Samaris: The second successive game in which Samaris played far away from his level. In Portugal, the 29-year-old had a fantastic second half of the season and won the Liga NOS with Benfica, but he’s not played with any urgency in the two games against Italy and Armenia. Substituted in favour of Manolis Siopis with 15 minutes remaining.
Kostas Fortounis: The only Greek player to come away from this match with his reputation enhanced. In what was a glowing display, the Olympiacos star scored a stunning solo goal in the 87th minute, while dishing out an assist for the first marker and competing with desire. Such a shame that he was practically playing Armenia on his own.
Giorgos Masouras: At the weekend, Masouras had battled against Italy without the required quality, and we can say the same about this match with Armenia. Attempted to create and press the Armenian defence, but in all honesty, he didn’t have the tools required to really make the opponents worry.
Dimitris Pelkas: This was the chance for the PAOK midfielder to assert himself with the Ethniki Omada. Unfortunately for Pelkas, he let that opportunity slip by, unable to make his mark on the match and being substituted in the 68th minute. It’s hard to see where he can fit in with the Ethniki.
Efthymis Koulouris: The Super League top scorer didn’t have many chances. Koulouris didn’t play particular badly, but when you’re a forward, it’s tough to show your true potential when the service is non-existent. Deserves more time to adapt to the senior Greek national team.
Giannis Kotsiras: Replaced the injured Mavrias with 17 minutes on the clock. Pressed the opponents and played with heart. Incidentally, this was Kotsiras’ official debut for the Ethniki Omada (played in friendly against Turkey), after he caught the eye with Asteras Tripolis in the Super League.
Dimitris Kolovos: Took the place of Pelkas and did at least add some energy to the attack.
Manolis Siopis: The Aris defensive midfielder picked up a knock immediately after replacing Samaris and forced the team to finish the match with only 10 outfield players.