Anastasiadis regrets missed chances, Reim praises Estonian defensive effort
After losing to Estonia in the final UEFA Nations League match, Greek national team boss Angelos Anastasiadis rued the missed opportunities, while opposing manager Marin Reim felt happy with the sturdy defensive performance.
In order to keep second place of Group 2, League C in the UEFA Nations League, Greece simply needed to avoid defeat against relegated Estonia in Athens, but an experimental Ethniki Omada surprisingly fell 0:1 to the lowly visitors. Vasilis Lampropoulos inadvertently bundled the ball into his own net on 44 minutes, and despite registering 27 shots and 15 corners, the Greeks failed to conjure a response. Substitute Konstantinos Fortounis came closest with a rasping free-kick which struck the upright.
In conversation with the media, Greek national team head coach Angelos Anastasiadis shared his emotions from his maiden defeat at the helm: “We created plenty of chances to score, but couldn’t hit the back of the net,” stated the 65-year old. “We’re disappointed to give second place in the group away. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with the players’ efforts, even if there are aspects which require improvement.
Estonia did nothing in this match, but they scored a very fortunate goal. This doesn’t happen very often, however I am not searching for excuses. Are we in trouble? I’ve only been with the team for one week, it’s very difficult to drastically change something in such a short time frame. These negative results can make you tougher mentally. I want to help the guys become better players.
We’re obliged to persuade the fans to return to the stadium with our performances on the pitch. Efthymis Koulouris joined Greece U21? He was with us for the game with Finland because we wanted to beat them 2:0 and I planned to start him today. However, it’s important that he helps the under 21 team in Austria. Would he have changed this match? No, I don’t think so.”
Estonian manager Martin Reim felt that his team’s solid showing in defence was the key to beating Greece: “We knew that if we defended well, we had a chance to win this match,” said Reim. “After the previous defeats, this victory gives us a breath of fresh air for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers. Yes, we didn’t have many scoring chances today, but we understood Greece’s qualities and tried to nullify them. Maybe we were bit lucky in the end, however we play to win every match.”
29-year old Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris, who played in his first Ethniki match since March, agreed that Greece should be beating teams like Estonia: “The Estonians have a team which we should definitely be defeating. They weren’t better than us, but if we meet them again in the European Championship qualifying stage, we will beat them after working more extensively with our coach. I wanted to mark my return to the national team with a victory. We played well for the majority of the match, but we were unlucky with the conceded goal.”
Atromitos left-back Dimitris Giannoulis, competing in his second match with the Greek national team, is looking ahead to the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign: “We need to turn things around and prepare for the European Championship qualifiers,” revealed the promising 23-year old. “We have a lot to work on. Am I satisfied after receiving minutes on the pitch? I can’t be happy after Greece lost to Estonia. None of us can be pleased. We created lots of opportunities and conceded an unfortunate own goal.”