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SKIBBE SET FOR BIG DECISIONS AHEAD OF BOSNIA MATCH
The Greek National Team’s crucial match against Bosnia and Herzegovina in European Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is fast approaching. The away qualifier, to be played at the Bilino Polje Stadium in Zenica on June 9th, is a vital match that could go a long way in determining Greece’s chances for a place at Russia 2018.
In the coming weeks, Ethniki boss Michael Skibbe will announce the squad for that crucial qualifier. And Skibbe will have some big decisions to make as five players will miss the match against the Bosnians. Andreas Samaris, Giorgos Tzavellas, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, and Panagiotis Tachtsidis are all ruled out due to suspension, with Samaris having accumulated yellows while Tzavellas and Tachtsidis were both sent off in the team’s last qualifier against Belgium. Kyriakos Papadopoulos will be serving his final match suspension for his actions against Bosnia in Greece.
Also absent from the team will be long-term injury victim Nikos Karelis.
Skibbe is widely reported to be interested in calling up left-back Babis Lykogiannis for the first time. The Sturm Graz player has impressed with his performances as of late putting himself in the frame for a call-up to the senior team after having represented Greece at youth level.
Another player to have represented Greece’s younger national teams is also in line for a first call-up. Panathinaikos’ Dimitris Kourbelis could be selected as a back-up defensive midfielder.
It’s a big question whether Skibbe will call up Kourbelis and also keep faith in the young talent that were drafted into the squad recently. The smart money is that the German manager will hold onto the likes of Thanasis Androutsos and bring in Kourbelis and Giorgos Manthatis. It wouldn’t exactly be called a youth revolution, however it would a clear sign that Skibbe values what young Greek talent can bring to the table.
Goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis is set for a return to the team meaning that more than likely Dimitris Kyriakidis will be dropped from the squad.
There could be some more surprises depending on injuries, however for now the squad is expected comprise of the players that were selected for the Belgium match.
Below is the predicted squad for the match against Bosnia:
Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis, Stefanos Kapino, Panagiotis Glykos
Defenders: Kostas Manolas, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Vasilis Torosidis, Marios Oikonomou, Kostas Stafylidis, Babis Lykogiannis
Midfielders: Zeca, Manolis Siopis, Kostas Fortounis, Giannis Maniatis, Petros Mantalos, Alexandros Tziolis, Thanasis Androutsos, Dimitris Kourbelis
Forwards: Kostas Mitroglou, Giorgos Manthatis, Dimitris Diamantakos, Apostolos Vellios, Giannis Gianniotas, Tasos Bakasetas
I believe this match will make or break Michael Skibbe's managerial career.
it has a feel of 7 June 2003, Spain v Greece. Michael Skibbe has two or three uncapped youngsters from the Olympiacos system plus Mystakidis fom PAOK whom could mix in well with the tough & experienced campaigners of Karnezis, Sokratis, Manolas, Torosidis, Tzavellas, Samaris, Fortounis, Mitroglou & maybe a few others whom have been around the squad for quite a while to create the right formula to cause a upset away to Belgium.
My prediction is Belgium 1 Greece 1.
This will probably be the biggest match of the campaign. We can put ourselves in a great position to go to Russia with a win here.
Friendly for the ethniki at home to Belarus in Piraeus at Karaiskaki. Good warmup for the bigger game 4 days later.
My heart won't be pulled in two directions here. Cyprus looking for their first win at the Bosnians. Of course, last time Kypro went to Bosnian soil, worked out pretty damn well!
Hooray, no conflicting emotions here. The ethniki are off to Tallinn to visit Estonia. Need to keep the pace with another win.
Greece's Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign begins with a away match against FIFA's newest member Gibraltar on 6 September 2016 at the Estádio Algarve in Portugal.
Guys, Greece just moved up by 10 rankings, what gives? Has FIFA suddenly become generous to us? :P
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking
1. Brazil 1574 pts
2. France 1534 pts
3. Argentina 1492 pts
4. England 1477 pts
5. Italy 1474 pts
6. Netherlands 1327 pts
7. Czech Republic 1312 pts
8. Germany 1291 pts
9. Portugal 1272 pts
10. Spain 1255 pts
11. Nigeria 1166 pts
12. Cameroon 1062 pts
13. Ukraine 1029 pts
14. Switzerland 1016 pts
15. Uruguay 960 pts
16. Denmark 940 pts
17. Mexico 891 pts
18. Sweden 888 pts
19. Ivory Coast 879 pts
20. Colombia 867 pts
21. Paraguay 854 pts
22. Greece 833 pts
23. Ghana 830 pts
24. Croatia 825 pts
25. Romania 817 pts
Do you notice Turkey isn't on the list? :P There ranked 28th! :LOL:
Greece not qualifying for the UEFA Euro 2016 finals tournament in France could work in their favor in qualification for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup. The players get a proper off-season break. Complacency will not creep into the squad after being brought back down to earth in Euro 2016 qualifying.