Analysis: How the Greeks performed against Switzerland
Greece failed to make a positive start to 2018 in Athens, losing to the Swiss 0:1 at the Olympic Stadium in an uneventful friendly encounter. Michael Skibbe’s men rarely threatened the opposing goal, not even registering a single effort on target.
Following the defeat against Switzerland in the Greek capital, AGONAsport analyzes how each player on the Ethniki Omada performed in the first friendly match of 2018.
Orestis Karnezis: The Watford goalkeeper may feel that he should have anticipated Blerim Dzemaili’s acrobatic shot better for Switzerland’s winning goal. Nevertheless, he later denied Mario Gavranovic with a superb stop.
Vassilis Torosidis: Greece’s veteran captain showed plenty of effort when breaking forward on the right wing, but his crosses didn’t trouble the Swiss back line. No end product to his gutsy play and was substituted after 63 minutes.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: Picked up a yellow card and appeared strangely nervous in the centre of the Greek defence. Committed a sloppy error to gift Breel Embolo a golden opportunity late in the first half, with the Swiss forward smashing the post at point blank range. Disappointing display.
Kostas Manolas: Went missing at the back for Switzerland’s winning goal. Passing wasn’t up to standard, but he was slightly better than the shaky Papastathopoulos.
Panagiotis Retsos: Not his best night. Looked uncomfortable and proved ineffective when occasionally trying to join the attack. Overall, the young Bayer Leverkusen defender requires more experience at international level.
Andreas Samaris: Starved of playing time with club Benfica, the 28-year old never threatened the Swiss defence and played short, simple passes instead of looking for more dangerous options. Taken off for Dimitris Kourbelis on 73 minutes.
Carlos Zeca: Was one of the few players who actually played with any sort of energy. Buzzed around the midfield without picking out any killer passes, but at least he displayed desire to get the team going.
Christos Donis: Played on the left flank and showed glimpses of his potential, but he didn’t have the required flair to unlock a solid Swiss defence. In the end, the Stuttgart man was replaced in favour of Lazaros Christodoulopoulos after 63 minutes of play.
Kostas Fortounis: The Olympiacos playmaker was presented with the best Greek opportunity of the match, slotting wide of a gaping left corner after a Swiss mistake early in the first half. Later on, he contrived to blaze over the bar at point blank range. Did carry threat.
Anastasios Bakasetas: To be honest, he did not perform anywhere near his best. The Swiss defence calmly kept the 24-year old at bay, as the forward endured a subdued evening. Stayed on the field for the entire game.
Kostas Mitroglou: In the first half, the imposing Marseille striker opted to pass rather than shoot when clean through and the chance came to nothing. Lacked service and Michael Skibbe removed him from proceedings after 73 minutes to make way for Efthymis Koulouris.
Michalis Bakakis: Following a 3.5 year break, the right-back finally returned to the national team after brilliant performances with AEK Athens. Usually, Bakakis is at his best when speeding towards the opposing goal, but in this match, he mainly stayed in defence.
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos: With his introduction, Greece immediately had more speed and energy. Set up Fortounis with an excellent pass, but the ball was lashed off target from a decent position. His crossing wasn’t the best, however Lazaros got the Greeks moving again.
Dimitris Kourbelis: Replaced Samaris for the final 17 minutes, but the Panathinaikos star didn’t get involved in the game and struggled against the direct Swiss approach.
Efthymis Koulouris: At the age of 22, Koulouris made his maiden senior national team appearance in the second half. Unfortunately for him, he was invisible on the pitch and did not have any openings.
Dimitris Pelkas: Burst onto the field with enthusiasm, giving the Swiss something new to think about. Showed a willingness to take the initiative and drove at the opponents when in possession.
Kostas Stafylidis: His arrowed cross in the dying moments forced opposing goalkeeper Yann Sommer into his only save of the match. Played with confidence.