Ben Shimon sticks to familiar faces for Euro 2020 qualifiers
The Cypriot national team announced their squad for their first two UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers, as selected by their manager from Israel, Ran Ben Shimon. Both matches will be at home, first against San Marino on March 21st and then against Belgium on March 24th. All home matches for the UEFA Euro 2020 campaign will be held at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.
Ran Ben Shimon’s squad is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Konstantinos Panagi (Omonoia), Urko Pardo (Alki Oroklini), Neophytos Michael(PAS Giannina)
DEFENDERS: Giorgos Merkis (APOEL), Kostas Laifis (Standard de Liege), Dosa Junior (AEL Limassol), Giorgos Vasiliou (Apollon), Nikolas Ioannou (APOEL), Ioannis Kousoulos (Omonoia), Christos Wheeler (AEL Limassol)
MIDFIELDERS: Giorgos Efraim (APOEL), Andreas Avraam (AEL Limassol), Kostakis Artymatas (APOEL), Chambos Kyriakou (Apollon), Grigoris Kastanos (Juventus), Renato Margaca (Nea Salamina), Fotis Papoulis (Apollon), Anthony Georgiou (Levante), Matija Spoljaric (Alki Oroklini)
FORWARDS: Pieros Sotiriou (Kobenhavn), Nestoras Mytidis (AEL Limassol), Andreas Makris (AEL Limassol), Minas Antoniou (Enosis Neon Paralimni)
So, in goal it’s the usual suspects. Panagi has been the main keeper for Cyprus since qualifying for the 2018 World Cup began in 2016. Pardo has 4 caps, mostly from occasions where Panagi was injured. Michael has been called up before, but has yet to make his international debut. The defense is led by Merkis, who has the most caps on this squad with 47. Every defender has been called up, although Wheeler has yet to play. The forwards are led by the squad’s most prolific player, Sotiriou. The only player on the squad called up for the first time is the midfielder Matija Spoljaric. Spoljaric was born and raised in Cyprus and plays for Alki Oroklini. He is 21 years old, and the son of Milenko Spoljaric, a Croatian born player who also played for the Cypriot national team.