Ethniki’s revolving door
A whopping 89 players have received call ups into the #Ethniki squad over the past five years which has resulted in a revolving door situation
From the summer of 2014, ever since the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup and the departure of Fernando Santos from the helm, the Ethniki has become a revolving door as a whopping 89 players have been called up by the various coaches until today.
The retirements of key leaders such as Giorgos Karagounis play a role, but it begs the question, how can team chemistry be built? Especially in the context of international football where coaches have a limited time with their players. The constant chopping and changing of players stems from new coaches, but not many have put their hands up and grabbed their opportunities. Fans want to see in-form players and a defined identity, but this makes it virtually impossible.
It is crazy to fathom that Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ goal against Costa Rica on the 29th of June, 2014 was almost five years ago. The Ethniki came within a whisker of a quarter-final berth in Brazil 2014. However, from the moment Theofanis Gekas missed ‘that’ penalty, it all changed for the worse. The Ethniki lost its identity.
The nosedive in the FIFA Rankings reinforces the sharp demise - back then the Ethniki was firmly entrenched in the top 15, but fast forward five years and the team now sits in a disappointing 52nd spot, with no signs of a revival. The revolving door has not stopped in terms of playing personnel - an incredible five coaches have sat in the Ethniki hot seat over this five-year period. Claudio Ranieri, Kostas Tsanas, Sergio Markarian and Michael Skibbe have all come and gone. Now the axe is expected to be wielded yet again, this time on Angelos Anastasiadis.
The Ethniki have played 46 official matches (World Cup and Euro qualifiers, as well as friendlies) since the penalty shoot-out loss to Costa Rica, and have lost 21 of these. On top of this, an array of losses have come against minnows. The only wins have come against the likes of Gibraltar (twice), Cyprus (twice), Hungary (twice), Estonia (twice), Finland, and Liechtenstein. Simply tragic!
The departure of Santos also brought to light other issues that have hampered Greek football for years, they were simply covered up due to the team achieving results. These issues such as corruption and incompetence are also evident in walks of life in Greece.
Some of these players selected never expected a call-up in their wildest dreams, others ended their time in the squad on their own accord, others did not even have a club team at the time they were called up.
Here is a list of all 89 players that have received a call up over the past 5 years in the Ethniki “kafeneio”: