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Croatia - Greece ( Round 2, 1st Leg, 9 Nov. 2017, Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb )

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Sorry to break it to all of you.

Samaris is shitte

Bouchalakis is pure shitte

Tziolis is good but not gonna give us anything against croatia.

Workrate is what defines a player.

Zeka has it. Runs up and down the midfield and helps in both offence and defence. He sucks at offensive gameplay but he s gonna be the extra man.

Samaris has workrate as well. His defensive flaw is not only his. Noone expected Belgium playing with 3 CBs and 2 of them being that high on the pitch. He is benfica tier and the fact that he is not playing even though the team is going terribly proves something else is hte problem.(changes happen when the team is literally getting minimum results. Look at Ansarifard starting in Olympiakos after so many failures. Look at Omar and Androutsos starting and Koutris ending up being the starter Left Back. This is football. Anyways the fact that he is not playing, not even as a sub proves there is something going on with his relationship with the coach. Maybe it has something to do with the supposed Newcastle transfer that he travelled to England for. Maybe he missed the whole preaseason for it).

To be fair. Samaris is not that good to be a benfica starter. A Portuguese Champion starter but the point is that HE IS THE BEST THING WE GOT. Period. Our best midfielder. So mumbling about who we put in his stead is not gonna change the situation. We have no midfielders.

We have some upcomming wingers in Pelkas/Limnios/Gianniotas/Androutsos/Manthatis who could be the next best thing but until this Galanopoulos dude of Aek and Kourbelis of Panathinaikos prove themselves we have nothing upcomming on the midfield.

Siopis is questionable because we ve seen nothing of him. He controls most of Panionios game but I really can't claim the NT would be better with him.

We are no La massia. We do not produce players day by day. This is why many of our flops like Ninis are costly.

Samaris deserves a starting spot not because he is something top tier. But because anything you name(because I know you douches are gonna name a bunch of no-namers in the answer) is not better.

Skibbe knows this and you see that most of our offensive play comes from the flanks. Where Both Torosidis an Stafylidis have a decent crossing. As well as Tzavellas. So just because he does the obvious (which is expect nothing much from the holding mids when it comes to creativity) he is a bad coach. 

Also Kyriakos Papadopoulis in the midfield can u stop with that already whoever is posting it? He got no cross he got no knowledge of the position he is just a defender. I mean you wrote that 10 times in the last 10 matches c'mon.

Tziolis o babas sas mi hatearete reeeeee.

Edited by Rockafeller Skank

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5 hours ago, Rockafeller Skank said:

 His defensive flaw is not only his. Noone expected Belgium playing with 3 CBs and 2 of them being that high on the pitch. He is benfica tier and the fact that he is not playing even though the team is going terribly proves something else is hte problem.(changes happen when the team is literally getting minimum results.

 

that goal was 100% his fault. go watch the replay. he was drawn out of position for no reason, opened up a lane for the others to take advantage. on top of that .... he had his hands behind his back which is a bad idea for ANY athlete. at the moment he needs to be quick, agile, reactive to get into tje right position, he's dancing hasaposerviko

 

regardless, i do not share your opinion that he is the best we have. i don't even see what qualities he has for a midfielder.

his passing is crap, his vision is worse, he does not get into the proper lanes to close down the opponent's attacks

during games, he goes MIA for long periods of times and he's in the middle of the pitch. just don't understand this player

 

i thought he had potential 4 years ago, but he never developped

and ask benfica if they would ever pay marinakis again for him. he fleeced them BLIND. i wonder if santos was involved.

we have better options in the middle.

Edited by tantra129

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Torosidis was subbed off after 25 mins for bologna last night. He was stretching for a ball and then was grabbing at his right hamstring. Don't know how serve it is yet, but if it's a strain it would still be unlikely he makes it. 
The gods seem to be against us...

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So who the hell are we going to play in CM if they're all shite? Or shall we just do what we normally do and don't bother with a midfield! 

 

Edited by Chris Tsamados

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can someone tell me how sane is to criticize players judging by their performance agaisnt the best in the world? sokratis lost lukaku twice and that basically cost us 3 points overall. the fact that he got abused by lukaku tho means s%$#! because lukaku is a world class striker..

it's like expecting olympiakos to perform against barcelona but being dissapointed and talking s%$#! about them because they can't do that!!!

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Date and venue confirmed. Title edited

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1 hour ago, Boxou said:

can someone tell me how sane is to criticize players judging by their performance agaisnt the best in the world? sokratis lost lukaku twice and that basically cost us 3 points overall. the fact that he got abused by lukaku tho means s%$#! because lukaku is a world class striker..

it's like expecting olympiakos to perform against barcelona but being dissapointed and talking s%$#! about them because they can't do that!!!

Well people here keep saying that Sokratis is a world class defender, so it would stand to reason that criticizing him is appropriate. You can't hold him to one standard when he does well and then to another if he does not.

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45 minutes ago, pash said:

Well people here keep saying that Sokratis is a world class defender, so it would stand to reason that criticizing him is appropriate. You can't hold him to one standard when he does well and then to another if he does not.

Hold on here guys. This is where I draw the line. This comparison is unfair. Both Sokratis and Lukaku are world class. Lukaku plays in the Premier league and Champions League constantly up against the best CBs alive. He still scores. You cannot stop a world class striker from scoring 100% of the time. Having top class CBs doesn't mean you cannot get scored on. If that was the case Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Barcelona, Bayern, etc would never allow a goal. But they do, and often vs lesser strikers than Lukaku. A world class striker will get the better of world class defenders from time to time, just as world class defenders will get the better of top class strikers. On top of all that, Sokratis is an elite defender surrounded by not-so-elite players and was dealing with constant pressure by Belgium's attack all game long. What more do you want of him? Unjust and unfounded comparison here. 

Edited by Argy
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What exactly is your argument? That he's so good that it's pointless to criticize? Or that the game is entirely random once you get to a certain level, and so comparative skillsets are not worth discussing?

It is absolutely not unfair to compare two "world class" players, especially when they go up against each other. For what it's worth, I thought he did very well. It's a harder job to defend. But where you seem to find it inappropriate to levy any criticism against him, I think it's just as silly for people on this forum to get offended at the same criticism.

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Croatia announces 27 man roster for playoff with Greece. Line up looks pretty fierce...

Below is Croatia full roster: 

Goalkeepers: Subasic (Monaco), Kalinic (Gent), Livakovic (D. Zagreb)

Defenders: Vinda (D. Kyiv), Strinic (Sampdoria), Lovren (Liverpool), Vrsaljko (A. Madrid), Pivaric (D. Kyiv), Mitrovic (Besiktas), Leovac (PAOK), Dizic (Hajduk)

Midfielders: Modric (Real Madrid), Rakitic (Barcelona), Badelj (Fiorentina), Rog (Napili), Pasalic (Spartak Moskva), Bradaric (Rijeka), Vlasic (Everton)

Forwards: Mandzukic (Juventus), Perisic (Inter Milan), Kalinic (Milan), Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Rebic (E. Frankfurt)

Other Players: Brozovic (Inter Milan), Pjaca (Juventus), Cop (Standard Liege), Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen), Milic (Oostende)

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2 hours ago, Argy said:

Hold on here guys. This is where I draw the line. This comparison is unfair. Both Sokratis and Lukaku are world class. Lukaku plays in the Premier league and Champions League constantly up against the best CBs alive. He still scores. You cannot stop a world class striker from scoring 100% of the time. Having top class CBs doesn't mean you cannot get scored on. If that was the case Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Barcelona, Bayern, etc would never allow a goal. But they do, and often vs lesser strikers than Lukaku. A world class striker will get the better of world class defenders from time to time, just as world class defenders will get the better of top class strikers. On top of all that, Sokratis is an elite defender surrounded by not-so-elite players and was dealing with constant pressure by Belgium's attack all game long. What more do you want of him? Unjust and unfounded comparison here. 

So just because Sokratis is world class he is beyond criticism.

We can critisise Samaris and say that we should use others in the Midfield, although despite some people saying we do, we definately do not. But we gotta forget the fact that Sokratis did indeed cost us 3 points in the end.

No. Just No.

We have a decent squad and I agree that Sokratis is a top 10 CB for me alongside Manolas but he has a share in the why our NT didnt take a couple of extra results (unneeded foul vs Bosnia that gave them the 0-1 in Greece, Lukaku goal in Belgium, Lukaku Goal in Greece). We could be talking for a literally first spot here if those goals never happened.

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21 hours ago, tantra129 said:

 

that goal was 100% his fault. go watch the replay. he was drawn out of position for no reason, opened up a lane for the others to take advantage. on top of that .... he had his hands behind his back which is a bad idea for ANY athlete. at the moment he needs to be quick, agile, reactive to get into tje right position, he's dancing hasaposerviko

 

 

we have better options in the middle.

That goal wasn't 100% his fault.

Read my comment again. He was blocking a smart pass that the CBs might miss. Vertonghen up that high and also scoring is literally something that happens once in 100 games? He had other duties from his coach and due to those duties we did not concede from someone else like Mertens, KDB, Carrasco, Hazard. 

I get what you re saying. It does seem that he is letting Vertonghen get the ball but that might be coach instructions. Did you actually expect Vertonghen actually score from there? Get outta here.

 

Also if we have better options. Name them.

I did however say in my original post that no matter who you name. Noone is better. Not praising Samaris but im definately not praising any player who s a literally who and you think he s the real deal. We don't have midfielders as soon as you realise it the more u ll understand that this NT can be a top 20 side in the next 2-3 years if some of the players I named develop correctly, but until then going to the playoffs and barely losing qualification to Croats should be considered an overachievement.

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So with Torosidis out, who is the #2? Retsos? Does he throw Zeca in there? Someone else?

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If Toro and manolas are out then I assume kpaps and maybe retsos would be in.. I hope both are back.. I'm hearing Donis and Manolas have a good chance of making it back..

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Performance of NT players (potential squad members) in the season:

Karnezis (Watford) – didnt play at all, always benched

Kapino (Olympiakos) – 5 games in Supa League, on last three occasions didnt play; 1 games in CL, last game vs Barcelona: Proto plays, he is on the bench

Anestis (AEK) – plays regularly but he wont play vs Croatia, he has still no cap

Torosidis (Bologna) – he does not play regularly, last week he was a starter but got injured after 25 minutes and seems to be out (forzaroma.info says recovery time will be 2-3 weeks)

Manolas (Roma) – right now injured, his return expected just before the first playoff game

Papastathopoulos (Dortmund) – was suspended last week, but he always plays if he is available, he is captain of Borussia, our greatest player

K. Papadopoulos (Hamburg) – started as they lost to Bayern (0-1), plays regularly (8 starts in 9 games) but his team is struggling.

Retsos (Leverkusen) – played last week as a right back, at the age of 19 he is a starter for Leverkusen, our only top talent. So far he played 5 games out of six in Bundesliga. These 4 players are almost always on the pitch if they can play and they play for strong teams (all of them centre backs in principle, but Retsos is fielded often as a right back, probably Skibbe will use him as a RB).

Tzavellas (Alanyaspor) – plays for a mid-table Turkish team but he is at least a starter (7 games so far). He didnt play on the last two occasions because of a suspension.

Stafylidis (Augsburg) – unfortunately played only 10 minutes on 1 game, benched four times, now he has muscular problems, is it possible that he too will miss these games? I hope not.

Siovas (Leganes) is in great form and should be in the squad. 6 games, 540 minutes, Leganes conceded only 1 or 2 goals in these games, and they held Atletico Madrid at bay. Unfortunately he was almost always overlooked in this campaign.

Lykogiannis (Sturm Graz) – at least he plays regularly for his team and they are leading in Austrian Bundesliga. Possibly he will be called up, but I dunno whether he will start even if Stafylidis wont be OK (only 1 cap).

Samaris (Benfica) – was suspended until now, played a single game in Portuguese league (90 minutes) and was subbed in in a Champions League game (16 minutes). First Belgian goal was partly his fault, I dont know if he should start now; the main problem is we have some options as DM but none of them is good enough.

Tziolis (Al Feiha) – this weekend: he started on the bench for his Saudi team, and played only six minutes. He missed their previous game; before that, he had been a starter but his team is struggling.

Maniatis (Alanyaspor) – played 8 games out of nine, but he was only a sub in last 2 games (he played 18, then 19 minutes).

I aint too happy with the situation of our DMs: Zeca is OK but who will be his partner? Samaris is suspended (Liga NOS) and benched (Champions League), Tachtsidis is almost never fielded (see below) although he isnt suspended, Tziolis didnt start last week for a sub-par Saudi team and Maniatis seems to be a sub of a very average Turkish team.

Zeca (Koebenhavn) – four games out of six, on Sunday he wasnt in squad vs Aarhus (they won 4-0) and he missed their Europa League game vs Zlin too, because of fatigue. Their coach said before the Zlin game that Zeca seemed to be tired against Odense and thats why he didnt fly to the Czech Republic with the team. Still, Danish media labels him as one of the best players of Copenhagen, and I am pleased to know that he at least wont be tired versus Croatia. (I think he must start.)

Fortounis (Olympiacos) – has a great season, four goals and one assist on five league games. It was slightly surprising he didnt start for them on every occasion, although he was always on the pitch in CL games (so far he has 3 games, 1 assists).

Tachtsidis (Olympiacos) – A very poor season start, he has so far 2 games in Super League (one start, 116 minutes). Didnt play in CL games at all (stayed on the bench vs Juventus and Barcelona). Pathetic. At least Tziolis and Maniatis have some game time, Tachtsidis cant even start for his „top” team.

Kourbelis (Panathinaikos) – he is captain of a mid-table Greek team, he is solid but played only 3 minutes for the NT so far, I dont think he could start.

Mantalos (AEK) – he is their captain, scored several goals, but he is only goody-goody at international level. If he starts (probably he will) he will be used as a winger again but that is quite OK, Fortounis is in better form right now & he is more skilled.

Christodoulopoulos (AEK) – he is on fire nowadays. At international level, he is simply not good enough, he was average even vs Gibraltar! Possibly he will be in the squad but I dont think he will start nor that he should.

Mitroglou (Marseille) – scored on his debut vs Strasbourg in the 88th minute, next time (last week) he was subbed off after 66 minutes. In Europa League he has 1 start and no goals, but thank heaven he seems to be in-form now (scored vs Cyprus and Gibraltar too). If he is in good form he is capable of everything (cf. his three goals vs. Romania or his away goal vs Belgium). We have practically no other striker like him, he must be a starter.

Donis (Stuttgart) – scored 1 goal in 7 games in German Bundesliga, but he has now a minor injury. It would be very important if he could return before the play-offs because he is our only dangerous attacker behind Mitroglou.

Karelis (Genk) – he is healthy again after a year, he played for their second team. There is a weekend before the playoff, possibly he can get some game time (it would be good).

Bakasetas (AEK) – he seems to be a member of the closed club, will probably get a call-up. So far he scored 1 goals in 5 league games and played in Europa League too. He could have some part in the play-off games, he is good at defending, he isnt very much of a threat (after all, Donis has this year only one league goal too). He cant start for AEK (in EL he was subbed in three times and so far he played only 54 minutes)!

Diamantakos (Bochum) – still injured, not much use

Vellios (Nottingham) – provides absolutely nothing and he didnt play a single minute for his Championship team, he was on one occasion on the bench, they had already 11 games

Gianniotas (Real Valladolid) – another international attacker/winger who plays for a second tier team but he is at least some good. Scored 2 goals in 5 games and one goal in the cup, although he was used mainly as a sub (only 1 start in those five games).

The main problem is that several players of the NT didnt play at all, even if they play for mediocre teams. In our potential starting XI, only Manolas (lets hope he will be fit), Papastathopoulos, Kyriakos, Retsos, and possibly Fortounis and Zeca play regularly for a good team, there are four important players – Karnezis, Tachtsidis, Samaris, Stafylidis – who didnt play at all or got only a little time and now we have probably lost Torosidis too. Tzavellas, Maniatis, Tziolis, Mantalos, Lykogiannis are regulars of average and sub-par teams.

It would be a huge feat if we could win the playoff because several members of the squad got off to a shaky season start. Still, I think it is possible. Defensive tactics, team unity, a tactically astute head coach, a couple of class players like Sokratis and Manolas – these factors can contribute to our success.

It will be interesting to see whether Skibbe will use our traditional 4-3-3, the somewhat similar 4-2-3-1 or he will go with four defensive midfielders like versus Belgium.

There are a few players like Koutroubis, Siopis, Androutsos, Manthatis, Bouchalakis etc. who can be called up but neither do I think they will play even if they will get call-ups nor do I they should. If we look at the (potential) squad at large it presents a somewhat sorry picture overall but there are some light spots.

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@La Mendel honestly, from a neutral perspective reading your post on how few of our players get game time, it would be a major upset (and failure) if Croatia didn't qualify.

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We all know the strength of Croatia's midfield. Players like Modric, Rakitic and Kovacic are WORLD CLASS. Because of this, i do expect hem to have most of as the ball, most of the time. However, their attackers are not the best, Sokratis and Manolas should be able to keep them under control.

Having fast wingers like Mantalos and Donis? could help us win some counter attacks, as i doubt we will be able to create too much through general play. Mitro will need to find another gear even though the Croats defense is weak. Hopefully Zeca and Tzolis(god help us) or Samaris can break up the play. They would have to sit back 

Our team

                         Karnezis

Retsos - Manolas - Sokratis Papa - Tzavellas

                      Zeca - Samaris

     Donis      -     Fortounis         -       Stalf

                           Mitroglou

If we can play for a 1-1 draw away, I give us a good chance to win at home. 

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SOCCER: Media in Croatia reported on Thursday there will be no away fans in the Croatia vs Greece play-offs for a spot in the World Cup finals, for fear of trouble. The first leg is scheduled for November 9 in Zagreb and the return is on November 12 in Piraeus.
 

 

WHAT???  -So weak

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I miss Samaras at this team.

In my understanding, our chances will increase like crazy if Mitroglou is inspired. He just need one single ball to destroy. And btw, I'm very happy that Croatia is a good team. It's much better for Greece to win over a team with an offensive mentality. If we manage to score a goal in Croatia, I'll have no doubts that we're gonna make it.

Edited by TheBigGoat

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42 minutes ago, La Mendel said:

The question in front of us is as follows (headline): How To Build a Solid Midfield Out of Players Who Are Basically Crap?

I disagree. Samaris, Mantalos and Fortounis are good players. 

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