With Greece’s economic crisis plummeting the country into a state of turmoil, it is now up to the national football team to restore their pride.
In only their second World Cup appearance, the Ethniki will be looking to cut down some tall poppies and make their natives forget that there is trouble in paradise and what better way to do it by beating the world and defying the odds.
Following the unexpected triumph of Euro 2004, Greek football has ebbed and flowed with paltry results ensuring they missed out on the tournament in their coach’s (Otto Rehhagel) homeland of Germany in 2006 and a horror defence of their European title which saw them out of the group stage without a point.
Since then, however, they have improved results highlighted by a second-placed finish behind Switzerland in their qualifying group for South Africa 2010.
After doing the hardyards and getting to the finals, the Greek players are now obliged to fight for their nation and restore that Hellenic pride that is so famous.
Playing schedule: South Korea (Port Elizabeth) June 12; Nigeria (Bloemfontein) June 17; Argentina (Polokwane) June 22
Also known as: Ethniki (national team)
Manager: Otto Rehhagel (GER)
Captain: Giorgos Karagounis
Key players: Giorgos Samaras, Theofanis Gekas, Angelos Charisteas, Sotirios Kyrgiakos
Wildcard: Pantelis Kapetanos
Player to watch: Sotiris Ninis
Most caps: Theodoros Zagorakis (120). Of this squad: Giorgos Karagounis (93)
Top goalscorer: Nikos Anastopoulos (29). Of this squad: Angelos Charisteas (24)
FIFA ranking: 13
Qualifying: 2nd in Group 2 of UEFA group stage.
Best result: Group stage – 1994
Michalis Sifakis (Aris Salonika)
Alexandros Tzorvas (Panathinaikos)
Kostas Chalkias (PAOK Salonika)
Giorgos Seitaridis (Panathinaikos)
Loukas Vintra (Panathinaikos)
Evangelos Moras (Bologna)
Socrates Papastathopoulos (Genoa)
Sotiris Kyrgiakos (Liverpool)
Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos)
Vasilis Torosidis (Olympiakos)
Nikos Spiropoulos (Panathinaikos)
Stelios Malezas (PAOK Salonika)
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