Toothless Greece slip to friendly defeat against Switzerland
|Greece||0 - 1||Switzerland|
An ineffective Greece slumped to a low-key 1-0 friendly loss to World Cup-bound Switzerland at the Olympic Stadium in Athens on Friday as its first match of 2018 failed to capture the imagination.
Michael Skibbe’ Greek team were in uninspiring form in front of a half-empty stadium, failing to get even a single shot on target against the Swiss, as a 4-2-3-1 formation with three attacking midfielders behind lone striker Kostas Mitroglou failed to galvanise the players.
Greece managed just three shots in total and Skibbe should be particularly concerned about the lack of creativity from his team, who will face Egypt in another friendly on Tuesday.
The Greeks, sporting an impressive new all blue shirt design, did have a couple of decent chances in the first half, with Kostas Fortounis and Mitroglou both failing to find the target.
The best moment of the first half, however, fell to Breel Embolo who capitalized on an error of judgment by central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos to strike the outside of the pot three minutes before the break.
Switzerland started the second half in more determined mood and 14 minutes in Blerim Dzemaili scored a superb goal, netting with a side-on bicycle kick volley to open the scoring.
That prompted a period of prolonged pressure from the visitors, who passed up a series of chances to score a second goal.
It did not come, though, and Olympiacos midfielder Fortounis was guilty of missing Greece’s best chance of the second half in the 76th minute, firing wastefully wide after being set up by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos.
It was a flat performance in front of just 5,487 fans who turned out at the Olympic Stadium and Skibbe will have to rally his troops for their next match against Egypt in Zurich at 21:00 local time on Tuesday.