Miserable four years displayed by major Ethniki fall
What a difference four years can make. Back in 2014, Greece were in Pot 1 for the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying draw, but this time, the country languishes in Pot 4 after a miserable few seasons.
February 23, 2014. After qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Greek national team was placed in Pot 1 for the UEFA Euro 2016 qualification draw, boasting a UEFA ranking of seven behind only Portugal, England, Italy, Holland, Germany and Spain. Things were going swimmingly well, but since the World Cup success in Brazil, the Greeks have suddenly embarked on a rapid spiral downwards.
The qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 was thoroughly embarrassing. To the players’ credit, they improved in the 2018 World Cup qualification process under German coach Michael Skibbe, but after making the playoffs, they contrived to lose 1:4 on aggregate to Croatia and missed out on a second consecutive major international tournament. Sadly, the UEFA Nations League campaign saw Greece sink to a new low, as the Ethniki came third in a group with Finland, Hungary and Estonia, losing three out of six matches against average opposition.
With newly installed boss Angelos Anastasiadis, a large improvement is expected with younger players slowly introduced to the team, however sitting in Pot 4 for the Euro 2020 qualifiers has severely reduced the chances of making the final tournament. In order to participate at Euro 2020, Greece will have to defeat three theoretically stronger countries, and while the Ethniki continues losing against the likes of Estonia and Finland, there’s no reason for fans to be optimistic. The draw will take place at 12:00 CET on Sunday, December 2.
Pots for UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying:
Pots for UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: