EPO continuing to ignore Ethniki crisis
A month has passed since the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Armenia, with the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) somewhat ignoring the crisis which the Greek national team finds itself in.
Last month, Greek hopes of reaching the 2020 European Championship were dealt a huge blow in Athens, as Italy (3:0) and Armenia (3:2) defeated the Ethniki Omada at the Olympic Stadium. Following the loss to the Armenians, Sokratis Papastathopoulos pleaded with the EPO to make changes during a media interview, with head coach Angelos Anastasiadis subsequently reacting angrily in his press-conference.
According to reports, Anastasiadis had already engaged in a conflict with veteran Vasilis Torosidis, while it appears Papastathopoulos and Kostas Manolas will not play for the national team again with the 66-year-old at the helm. Manolas had joined Papastathopoulos in speaking to EPO president Evangelos Grammenos after the defeat against Armenia.
Initially, it seemed almost certain that the EPO would react by sacking Anastasiadis, but nothing has yet been done.
In early September, Greece will return to competitive action, however there is no sign that the EPO is preparing to make any major changes to the national team set-up despite the real threat of losing crucial players such as Papastathopoulos, Manolas and Torosidis. The issue of Anastasiadis alienating the team’s leaders has been ignored by the organisation.
Losing Papastathopoulos, Manolas and Torosidis is already bad enough, but the Ethniki has now been left without Kostas Fortounis too. This week, the 26-year-old Olympiacos star received a devastating anterior cruciate ligament injury in a friendly against Hamburg in Austria, meaning he will miss all of the remaining Euro 2020 qualifiers. Yet another massive setback for Greece as hopes of qualifying for the competition continue to rapidly fall apart.
Additionally, the Pankritio Stadium is still not anywhere near ready for use by the Greek national team, meaning the Ethniki will surely complete the qualifying campaign at the OAKA in Athens. An arena which has openly been criticised by both the coaching staff and the players for its lack of atmosphere.
It remains to be seen whether the EPO will eventually make some sort of attempt to somehow save a situation which has got dangerously out of control.
GREECE U21 TO PLAY GERMANY IN HIGH PROFILE FRIENDLY
Recently, the EPO confirmed that the under 21 Greek national team will take on Germany in September, as preparations for the next 2021 UEFA U21 European Championship qualifiers step up. The friendly match will take place on September 5 in Zwickau.