Greece national football team

Last updated

Greece
Greece National Football Team.svg
Nickname(s) Ethniki (National)
Galanolefki (Sky blue-white)
Piratiko (Pirate Ship)
Association Hellenic Football Federation (HFF)
(Ελληνική Ποδοσφαιρική Ομοσπονδία – ΕΠΟ)
Confederation UEFA
Head coach John van't Schip
Captain Kostas Stafylidis
Most caps Giorgos Karagounis (139)
Top scorer Nikos Anastopoulos (29)
Home stadium Olympic Stadium of Athens
FIFA code GRE
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First colours
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Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 58 Increase2.svg 2 (24 October 2019) [1]
Highest8 [2] (April 2008, October 2011)
Lowest66 (September 1998)
Elo ranking
Current 65 Decrease2.svg 13 (18 October 2019) [3]
Highest7 (August 2004)
Lowest78 (May 1963, November 1963)
First international
Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg  Greece 1–4 Italy  Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg
(Athens, Greece; 7 April 1929)
Biggest win
Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg  Greece 8–0 Syria  Flag of Syria.svg
(Athens, Greece; 25 November 1949)
Biggest defeat
Flag of Hungary 1940.svg  Hungary 11–1 Greece  Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg
(Budapest, Hungary; 25 March 1938)
World Cup
Appearances3 (first in 1994 )
Best resultRound of 16 (2014)
European Championship
Appearances4 (first in 1980 )
Best resultChampions (2004)
Olympic Games
Appearances3 (first in 1920 )
Best resultGroup Stage (2004)
Confederations Cup
Appearances1 (first in 2005 )
Best resultGroup stage (2005)

The Greece national football team (Greek : Εθνική Ελλάδος, Ethniki Ellados) represents Greece in international football and is controlled by the Hellenic Football Federation, the governing body for football in Greece. Greece play most of their home matches in on near Athens, either in Athens at the Olympic Stadium in the Maroussi section of the city or in the port city of Piraeus at the Karaiskakis Stadium just outside Athens. Greece is one of only ten national teams to have been crowned UEFA European Champions.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning at least 3500 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Greece republic in Southeast Europe

Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, also known as Hellas, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Contents

Greece made their first appearance in a major tournament at UEFA Euro 1980 and although they did not make it through the group stage, their qualification to the then eight-team tournament gave them a position in the top eight European football nations that year. Greece did not qualify for another major tournament until the 1994 FIFA World Cup and after an undefeated qualifying campaign, they produced a poor performance in the final tournament, losing all three group matches without scoring.

UEFA Euro 1980 1980 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 1980 UEFA European Football Championship final tournament was held in Italy. This was the sixth European Football Championship, which is held every four years and endorsed by UEFA. It was the first edition to feature eight teams, taking place between 11 and 22 June 1980. West Germany won the final 2–1 for their second title. This was the last European Championship with a third place play-off.

UEFA European Championship European association football tournament for mens national teams

The UEFA European Football Championship is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), determining the continental champion of Europe. Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was originally called the European Nations' Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Starting with the 1996 tournament, specific championships are often referred to in the form "UEFA Euro [year]"; this format has since been retroactively applied to earlier tournaments.

1994 FIFA World Cup 1994 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1994 FIFA World Cup was the 15th edition of the FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national soccer teams. It was hosted by the United States and took place from June 17 to July 17, 1994 at nine venues across the country. The United States was chosen as the host by FIFA on July 4, 1988. Despite the host nation's lack of soccer tradition, the tournament was the most financially successful in World Cup history; aided by the high-capacity stadiums in the United States, it broke the World Cup average attendance record with more than 69,000 spectators per game, a mark that still stands. The total attendance of nearly 3.6 million for the final tournament remains the highest in World Cup history, despite the expansion of the competition from 24 to 32 teams, which was first introduced at the 1998 World Cup and is the current format.

UEFA Euro 2004 marked a high point in Greece's football history when they were crowned European champions in only their second participation in the tournament. Dismissed as rank outsiders before the tournament, the team defeated some of the favourites in the competition including defending European champions France and hosts Portugal. During the tournament, Greece defeated the hosts in both the opening game of the tournament and again in the final. Their triumph earned them a place in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup.

UEFA Euro 2004 2004 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 2004 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2004 or simply Euro 2004, was the 12th edition of the UEFA European Championship, a quadrennial football competition contested by the men's national teams of UEFA member associations. The final tournament was hosted for the first time in Portugal, from 12 June to 4 July 2004, after their bid was selected on 12 October 1999, over those of Spain and Austria/Hungary. A total of thirty-one matches were played in ten venues across eight cities – Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra, Guimarães, Faro/Loulé, Leiria, Lisbon, and Porto.

France national football team mens national association football team representing France

The France national football team represents France in international football and is controlled by the French Football Federation, also known as FFF, or in French: Fédération française de football. The team's colours are blue, white and red, and the coq gaulois its symbol. France are colloquially known as Les Bleus. The French side are the reigning World Cup holders, having won the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 15 July 2018.

Portugal national football team mens national association football team representing Portugal

The Portugal national football team has represented Portugal in international men's football competition since 1921. It is controlled by the Portuguese Football Federation, the governing body for football in Portugal.

In the decade after the 2004 victory, Greece qualified for the final tournaments of all but one major competitions entered, reaching the quarter-finals at the UEFA Euro 2012 and the round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. During that period, they occupied a place in the top 20 of the FIFA World Rankings for all but four months, and reached an all-time high of eighth in the world from April to June 2008, as well as in October 2011.

UEFA Euro 2012 2012 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2012 or simply Euro 2012, was the 14th European Championship for men's national football teams organised by UEFA. The final tournament, held between 8 June and 1 July 2012, was co-hosted for the first time by Poland and Ukraine, and was won by Spain, who beat Italy 4–0 in the final at the Olympic Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine.

2014 FIFA World Cup 20th FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil in 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup was the 20th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for men's national football teams organised by FIFA. It took place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014, after the country was awarded the hosting rights in 2007. It was the second time that Brazil staged the competition, the first being in 1950, and the fifth time that it was held in South America. Many fans and pundits alike also consider this edition of the World Cup to be one of the greatest ever held.

FIFA World Rankings world ranking list

The men's FIFA World Ranking is a ranking system for men's national teams in association football, currently led by Belgium. The teams of the men's member nations of FIFA, football's world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest. The rankings were introduced in December 1992, and eight teams have held the top position, of which Brazil have spent the longest ranked first.

History

The national team for the Inter-Allied Games in Paris, 1919. Greece football team Inter-Allied Games 1919.jpg
The national team for the Inter-Allied Games in Paris, 1919.
Greek squad for the 1920 Olympics. Greece national football team 1920 Olympics.jpg
Greek squad for the 1920 Olympics.

First years

The first appearance of a Greek national football team was at the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens. Later, the Greek team participated in the Inter-Allied Games in Paris, following the end of World War I, and in the 1920 Summer Olympics of Antwerp (recognized as first official by FIFA). A notable figure during these years was Giorgos Kalafatis, player and later manager of the team.

1906 Intercalated Games International multi-sport event celebrated in Athens (Greece) in 1906

The 1906 Intercalated Games or 1906 Olympic Games was an international multi-sport event that was celebrated in Athens, Greece. They were at the time considered to be Olympic Games and were referred to as the "Second International Olympic Games in Athens" by the International Olympic Committee. Whilst medals were distributed to the participants during these games, the medals are not officially recognized by the IOC today and are not displayed with the collection of Olympic medals at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Athens Capital and largest city of Greece

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.

Inter-Allied Games 1919 sporting event in Paris, France

The Inter-Allied Games was a one-off multi-sport event held from 22 June to 6 July 1919 at the newly constructed Pershing Stadium just outside Paris, France following the end of World War I. The host stadium had been built near the Bois de Vincennes by the U.S. Military in cooperation with the YMCA. The event was only open to participation by military personnel who were currently serving or had formerly served in the armed forces during the War. Around 1500 athletes from a total of eighteen nations participated in the proceedings which featured nineteen sports. Following the conclusion of the games, Pershing Stadium was presented as a gift to the people of France from the United States of America. The area, still known as Le Stade Pershing, continues to be used as an open air recreation park to this day.

1970 World Cup near miss

During the next decades, the Greek team did not manage to have any success, despite the passion of the Greek people for football. The country's economical and social problems after World War II, did not allow successful preparation of the national team.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

At its best moment, Greece narrowly missed qualifying for the 1970 FIFA World Cup, despite a good quality team, including some of the greatest-ever Greek players, such as Mimis Domazos, Giorgos Sideris, Giorgos Koudas and Mimis Papaioannou.

Euro 1980

Alketas Panagoulias led Greece to the Euro 1980 and 1994 FIFA World Cup. Alketas Panagoulias (1986).jpg
Alketas Panagoulias led Greece to the Euro 1980 and 1994 FIFA World Cup.

Greece, under the guidance of Alketas Panagoulias, made its first appearance in a major tournament at the Euro 1980 in Italy, after qualifying top of a group that included the Soviet Union and Hungary, both world football powers. [4] In the final tournament, Greece was drawn into group A with West Germany, the Netherlands, and Czechoslovakia. In their first game, Greece held the Dutch until the only goal of the game was scored with a penalty kick by Kist, in the 65th minute. Three days later Greece played Czechoslovakia in Rome. After holding the Czechoslovakians 1–1 at the end the first half, Greece eventually lost 3–1. In their last game, Greece earned a 0–0 draw against eventual winners West Germany, concluding what was considered a decent overall performance in the team's maiden presence in a final phase of any football competition.

1994 World Cup

The team's success in qualifying for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States, marked the first time they had made it to the FIFA World Cup finals. [5] Greece finished first and undefeated in their qualifying group, surpassing Russia in the final game. In the final tournament Greece were drawn into Group D with Nigeria, Bulgaria, and Argentina. After the successful qualifying campaign, expectations back in Greece were high as no one could imagine the oncoming astounding failure. Most notable reason for this complete failure was the fact that legendary coach Alketas Panagoulias opted to take a squad full of those players – though most of them aging and out of form – that helped the team in the qualifying instead of new emerging talents seeing it as a reward for their unprecedented success. Furthermore, they had the disadvantage of being drawn into a "group of death", with runners-up at the 1990 FIFA World Cup Argentina, later semifinalists Bulgaria, and Nigeria, one of the strongest African teams. It is worth mentioning that all players of the squad, including the three goalkeepers, took part in those three games, something very rare. This tournament was humiliating for the Greek squad. In their first game against Argentina at Foxboro Stadium just outside Boston, they lost 4–0. Four days later Greece suffered another 4–0 blow from Bulgaria at Soldier Field in Chicago, and then, in what would be their final game, they lost to Nigeria 2–0 at Foxboro Stadium again. In the end, Greece were eliminated in the first round by losing all three games, scoring no goals and conceding ten.

Near misses

Greece failed to qualify for the Euro 1996 finishing third in the group behind Russia and Scotland. In their 1998 World Cup qualifying tournament the team finished only one point shy of second-placed Croatia after a 0–0 draw by the eventual Group winners, the Danish. In their Euro 2000 qualifying group, Greece finished again in third place, two points behind second-placed Slovenia in a highly disappointing campaign that saw the team lose at home to Latvia. In the 2002 World Cup qualifying Greece finished a disappointing fourth in their group behind England, Germany and Finland, which led to the sacking of coach Vasilis Daniil, [6] replaced by Otto Rehhagel. Highlights of the campaign included a 5–1 defeat in Finland and the 2–2 draw that followed in England, the first two games of the soon to become legendary German coach at the reins of the Greek national team.

European Champions: Euro 2004 triumph

Greece line-up in Euro 2004 Greece 2004 lineup.png
Greece line-up in Euro 2004
Vasilis Tsiartas Tsiartas.jpg
Vasilis Tsiartas
Thodoris Zagorakis, captain of the national team and "player of the tournament" in Euro 2004. Theodoros Zagorakis.jpg
Thodoris Zagorakis, captain of the national team and "player of the tournament" in Euro 2004.

Qualification

Greece started the UEFA Euro 2004 qualification campaign with defeats at home to Spain and away to Ukraine, both with a 2–0 scoreline. The team went on to win their remaining six games, including a 1–0 away win over Spain in Zaragoza, securing first place in the group and an appearance in the European Championship finals for the first time in 24 years.

Before the tournament

Greece were the second-least favorite in the competition to win, with Latvia being the least favorite. Greece were also considered as outsiders and underdogs and were given odds of 150–1 of winning before the tournament. [7] They were drawn in Group A, ending up with Portugal, Spain and Russia, a "group of death"; Portugal, hosts and favourites to win, Spain, former European champions, and Russia, who won the first-ever Euro as the Soviet Union. Very few people expected Greece to proceed to the quarter-finals, let alone win the tournament.

Group stage

In the opening match against hosts Portugal Greece achieved a surprise 2–1 victory, [8] receiving the nickname "pirate ship" (Το Πειρατικό) used by Greek sportscasters in reference to the floating ship used in the tournament's opening ceremony. Greece won with a 25-yard strike by Giorgos Karagounis and a penalty by Angelos Basinas. Four days later, Greece stunned Spain in front of a largely Spanish crowd with a 1–1 draw after being down 1–0 at half time. [9] Greece fell behind from a defensive lapse, which allowed Fernando Morientes to score. However a sublime diagonal pass by playmaker Vasilis Tsiartas allowed Angelos Charisteas to score an equaliser in the second half, giving Greece hope of qualifying. In the final group match Greece fell behind 2–0 to Russia (who were already eliminated) within the first ten minutes of the game but managed to pull one back through Zisis Vryzas and thus progressed to the next round, at the expense of Spain, on goals scored. Dmitri Kirichenko had the chance to eliminate Greece in the final minutes of this match, but his stretched effort squeezed just wide.

Quarter-final

In the quarter-finals Greece faced off with the undefeated and reigning champions France. At 65 minutes Greece took the lead. Angelos Basinas played a perfect pass to captain Thodoris Zagorakis, who flicked the ball high in the air, past veteran French defender Bixente Lizarazu, and sent a perfect cross to Angelos Charisteas for the header and goal. Greece held on to win despite a late French onslaught, with close efforts by Thierry Henry, thus knocking France out of Euro 2004 and becoming the first team ever to defeat both the hosts and defending champions in the same tournament. [10]

Semi-final

Greece reached the semifinals to face the Czech Republic, who were the only team to defeat all of their opponents to that point. The Czech record included a convincing 3–2 win over the Netherlands, a 2–1 win over Germany, and a 3–0 win over Denmark in the quarter-finals. At this stage in the tournament the Czechs were favourites to take the trophy. The game began nervously for Greece, as the Czech Republic applied much pressure. Tomáš Rosický hit the bar in the opening minutes, and Jan Koller had several efforts saved by Antonis Nikopolidis. The Czechs chances were dealt a blow when influential midfielder Pavel Nedvěd left the pitch injured in the first half. After 90 minutes the game ended 0–0, despite the Czechs having most of the game's missed chances. In the final minute of the first half of extra time, a close range silver goal header by Traianos Dellas from a Vasilis Tsiartas corner ended the Czech campaign, putting Greece into the final of Euro 2004 and sending their fans into raptures. [11] [12] [13]

Final

Angelos Charisteas scoring Greece's winning goal in the Euro 2004 final. Charisteas' Siegtreffer im Finale der Euro 2004.jpg
Angelos Charisteas scoring Greece's winning goal in the Euro 2004 final.

For the first time in history the final was a repeat of the opening match, with Greece and hosts Portugal facing off in a rematch. In the 57th minute Charisteas gave Greece the lead with a header from a corner by Angelos Basinas. [14] Portugal had much of the possession, but the Greek defence was solid and dealt with most attacks. Cristiano Ronaldo had a good chance to equalise in the dying moments, but could not apply a finish. Greece held on to win 1–0, winning the tournament, an achievement considered by many to be one of the greatest football upsets in history, if not the greatest. [15] [16] [17] Greek captain Zagorakis was named the player of the tournament, having led Greece and made the most tackles in the entire tournament. [18]

Recognition

Greece's victory shot them up in the FIFA World Rankings from 35th in June 2004 to 14th in July 2004. This is one of the largest upward moves in a single month in the top echelon of the rankings. The triumph of Greece at Euro 2004 is the biggest sporting achievement in the country's history for a team sport, along with the successes of the Greece national basketball team in the European Championships of 1987, 2005 and 2006 FIBA World Championship and the World Championship title of Greece women's national water polo team in 2011. The team has appeared on stamps and received medals from Konstantinos Stephanopoulos (the President of Greece), Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens, and an ecstatic ovation from the country's population which came out to see the team drive with the trophy from the Athens airport to the Panathenaic Stadium where the Greek political and religious leadership was awaiting them. [19] [20] [21] [22] The Euro 2004 winners were selected as "World Team of the Year" at the 2005 Laureus World Sports Award for Team of the Year. [23]

2005 Confederations Cup

As European champions, Greece qualified for the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany and were drawn into Group B along with 2002 FIFA World Cup champions Brazil, 2004 AFC Asian Cup champions Japan, and 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup champions Mexico. Greece lost their first two matches 3–0 to Brazil and 1–0 to Japan before drawing 0–0 with Mexico to finish at the bottom of the group. The squad included players such as Stathis Tavlaridis, Loukas Vyntra, Michalis Sifakis, Giannis Amanatidis and Fanis Gekas, all of whom earned their first call ups or maiden caps in the national squad.

2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying

After winning the Euro 2004, Greece faced Ukraine, Turkey, Denmark, Albania, Georgia and Kazakhstan in Group 2 of the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification tournament. Greece opened their campaign with a 2-1 loss to Albania in Tirana before draws with Turkey (0-0) and Ukraine (1-1) followed by a 3-1 victory over Kazakhstan.

In 2005, Greece resumed their campaign with three victories, defeating Denmark 2-1; Georgia 3-1; and Albania 2-0; before earning a goalless away draw with Turkey. Just prior to the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, Greece lost 1–0 at home to Ukraine after a late goal from Andriy Husin. [24] Following a 2–1 away win against Kazakhstan, the team experienced a setback after a 1–0 defeat to Denmark in Copenhagen diminished their chances of qualification.

In their last game, Greece defeated Georgia, finishing in fourth place, four points behind first-placed Ukraine, two behind Turkey, and a point behind Denmark. Throughout the match, fans in the Karaiskakis Stadium chanted the name of Otto Rehhagel in their utmost support and he said afterwards "Even if 10 years pass, part of my heart will be Greek". [25]

Euro 2008

Greece vs Spain in Red Bull Arena during UEFA Euro 2008. Euro 2008 em-stadion wals-siezenheim 9.jpg
Greece vs Spain in Red Bull Arena during UEFA Euro 2008.

Greece was the highest-ranked seed for the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying tournament and was drawn with Turkey, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Moldova and Malta.

They began their Euro 2008 qualification campaign with victories over Moldova, Norway and Bosnia and Herzegovina before suffering a 4–1 home loss against Turkey in Athens. Greece went on to win away to Malta, with the only goal coming in the 66th minute from an Angelos Basinas penalty, beat Hungary and Moldova at home and drew 2–2 away to Norway despite having hit the goalpost three times in this match. The draw in Oslo was followed by a 3–2 home win against Bosnia-Herzegovina and a 1–0 away win to Turkey, securing its presence to the Euro 2008 finals at their old rival's home ground. [26] In the last two matches, Greece overcame Malta 5–0 in Athens and defeated Hungary with an away 2–1 win, finishing first in their group with a total of 31 points, the most points gained among any team in qualifying.

As defending European champions, Greece were top seed for the final tournament and were drawn with Sweden, Spain, and Russia in Group D.

In the tournament finals, however, the Greek team lost all three games and scored only one goal. Greece underperformed in the opening match against Sweden and lost 2–0 before losing 1-0 to Russia. Having already been eliminated, Angelos Charisteas opened the scoring for Greece against Spain, but lost 2–1, becoming the first defending champion not to earn a single point in the next European Championship.

2010 FIFA World Cup

Despite the scoring prowess of Europe's top 2010 World Cup qualifying goal-scorer Fanis Gekas—who produced 10 goals in as many games—Greece took second place to Switzerland in Group 2 of UEFA qualification, thus advancing to a home-and-away playoff round, where they faced Ukraine. After a scoreless draw at home in the first match, the second leg in Donetsk saw Greece triumph with a 1–0 win, sending the Greeks to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. [27] At the 2010 World Cup draw in Cape Town, South Africa on 4 December 2009, Greece found itself grouped with two familiar opponents from its first World Cup appearance in 1994. Argentina and Nigeria were yet again drawn into group stage play alongside Greece, this time into Group B with South Korea replacing Greece's third 1994 opponent, Bulgaria. [28]

In its World Cup opener, Greece lost 2–0 to South Korea after a dismal performance characterized by excessive long-ball attacks and a lack of offensive creativity. In the second fixture against Nigeria, Greece won 2–1, [29] coming from behind after conceding an early goal. Dimitris Salpingidis scored Greece's first-ever goal in the World Cup finals in the 44th minute of the first half to tie the match at 1–1. [30] Vasilis Torosidis scored the winning goal in the 71st minute, securing the first points and first victory for Greece in tournament history. In the third match against heavily favoured Argentina, Greece needed a combination of results to advance to the next round. As expected, in what would be his final game as Greece's national team head coach, Otto Rehhagel conjured up a very defensive-minded strategy, leaving Georgios Samaras with nearly all offensive responsibilities as the lone striker. The strategy nearly paid off in the second half with the score still locked at 0–0 when Samaras beat the last Argentine defender on a quick long-ball counter-attack but curled a rushed shot just wide of the far post. The Greeks held the Argentines scoreless until the 77th minute but ultimately lost 2–0, finishing third in Group B.

Greece moved from 13th to 12th in the FIFA World Rankings following the tournament. Russia, Croatia and France dropped lower than Greece while Uruguay and Chile jumped ahead of the Greeks.

Transition from Rehhagel to Santos

Fernando Santos 20150616 - Portugal - Italie - Geneve - Fernando Santos.jpg
Fernando Santos

Twenty-four hours removed from Greece's World Cup loss to Argentina, Otto Rehhagel stepped away from his post as Greek national team manager. [31] Eight days later a new era in Greek football was ushered in as the Hellenic Football Federation named former AEK Athens and PAOK boss Fernando Santos the new manager. [32] Under Santos the Greeks immediately went to work on an unprecedented streak of success, setting a senior-club record by going unbeaten in Santos' first seventeen matches as manager. While Greece's proficiency in stifling opposition attacks seemed to wane toward the end of Rehhagel's tenure, the emergence of Santos seemed to galvanize Greek defending once more. Through seven international friendlies and ten Euro 2012 qualifiers, the Greeks kept nine clean sheets and conceded just one goal in each of the remaining eight contests. From start to end of their unbeaten run, Santos' national side moved from #12 to #8 in FIFA's world rankings, equaling the highest mark in history credited by FIFA to Greece. Only one match from their streak featured a team (other than Greece) that appeared at the 2010 World Cup, a 1–0 defeat of Serbia in Belgrade.

Euro 2012

Qualifying

With its late-game comeback victory over Georgia in October 2011, Greece padded its historic football tournament résumé, most importantly by sealing an automatic berth into UEFA's 2012 European Football Championship tournament. For the second time in team history the national side won its qualifying group for a major football tournament without a single loss incurred, as Greece also went undefeated in 1994 World Cup qualifiers. Adding to its 1980, 2004 and 2008 Euro qualifying campaigns, the Georgia triumph marked the fifth time overall that Greece has won its qualification group for a major tournament. Although their tendency to produce positive results remained steady throughout qualifying, so too did the Greeks' proclivity to start games slowly and concede early goals. This habit would plague the Greeks through qualifying and eventually tarnish their Euro 2012 performances.

Over two qualifying contests, Greece trailed Georgia on the scoreboard for 130 of 180 minutes and still managed to grab four of six possible points in the standings by way of three late strikes. Goals scored in the dying minutes of games, often coming from defenders, became somewhat of a Greek signature on Group F's table. In fact Greece was able to take and keep a first-half lead just once in ten games, the 3–1 home defeat of Malta which was ranked 50th of 53 teams in Europe. In Malta, a last-second tie-breaking strike from defender Vasilis Torosidis pocketed a crucial extra two points in the standings for Greece, the same number of points it held over Croatia at the end of qualifying. Despite allowing weaker teams in the group to bring the game to them, the Greeks admirably held powerful Croatia scoreless through two meetings and deservedly won Group F four days after a decisive 2–0 home win versus the second-place Croats. Fanis Gekas, who retired from national team service in 2010 after Fernando Santos' third game as manager, came out of retirement in time to contribute a goal to the result. Gekas was eventually included in Santos's 23-man Euro 2012 roster, leaving out Euro 2004 hero Angelos Charisteas who scored the group-clinching goal in the aforementioned Greek qualifying victory in Georgia.

Group stage in Poland

Greek players singing the Greek national anthem in Euro 2012 opening match against the hosts Poland (1-1). Greece team POL-GRE 8-6-2012.jpg
Greek players singing the Greek national anthem in Euro 2012 opening match against the hosts Poland (1–1).

"Shades of 2004" was a commonly perceived theme regarding the buildup to Euro 2012 for the Greeks and their progression through the tournament. As in 2004 Greece was drawn into the same group as the host nation, Poland on this occasion, and also had the pressure of playing in the tournament's opening match. Two familiar foes from its 2004 championship run, Russia and Czech Republic, joined Greece and Poland in Group A on 2 December 2011 at the tournament's final draw in Kiev. Upon drawing the lowest-ranked teams from Pots 1 and 2 as well as the second-lowest from Pot 4, Greece's prospects of passing the group stage at Euro 2012 were given a boost.

Ideas of steering "To Piratiko" to a dream start in host-nation territory as Greece did in Portugal eight years before, rapidly turned sour during the opening match's first half. From the outset the Greeks appeared uncomfortable holding the ball for long spells and seemed content to allow hosts Poland to push numbers forward with the ball, hoping to score through counter-attacks. However, Poland made the most of its early possession, as top scorer Robert Lewandowski converted a header from a goal line cross past a scurrying Kostas Chalkias. Hope and momentum continued to tip in favor of Poland when Sokratis Papastathopoulos received his second yellow card of the game in just the 44th minute from Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo. The Greeks, however, began to boss the game after halftime while playing down a man. Dimitris Salpingidis made the greatest impact on the game for Greece as a second-half substitute, making brilliant penetrating runs behind the Polish defense, eventually bringing the game level 1–1 on a mistake by Poland keeper Wojciech Szczęsny. Salpingidis was then responsible for levelling up the numbers for the Greeks when Szczęsny made a red-card foul on Salpingidis' breakaway attempt on goal in the 68th minute. But Greek captain Giorgos Karagounis' subsequent penalty kick was turned away by substitute keeper Przemysław Tytoń. A second goal by Salpingidis was disallowed as he was assisted by an offside Kostas Fortounis, denying Greece's best opportunity to take three points from what ended as an improbable 1–1 draw.

The Czech Republic exploited Greece's weakness at the left-defender position early in the second group stage match, notching two goals in the first six minutes. Just as Poland had, the Czechs repeatedly penetrated the Greek back line behind left-side defender José Cholevas, scoring on a through-ball and a cross from Cholevas' side. Petr Čech's gaffe on a Georgios Samaras cross in the second half turned into a gift goal for Fanis Gekas. The Czechs then eased off on their early pressure, opting to sit back and guard their lead for much of the second half, but Gekas' goal was too little too late. Greece lost the match 2–1, placing them at the foot of Group A in need of a victory over the attack-minded Russians to advance to the knockout rounds.

After thrashing the Czech Republic 4–1 and displaying more offensive potency in a 1–1 draw with Poland, the Russians were favored to earn the one point they needed to advance against the Greeks, especially since defeating the team in both of the previous two European Championships. However, Greece delivered a trademark 1–0 defensive victory and advanced to the Euro 2012 quarterfinals. [33] The Greeks scored when Russian defender Sergei Ignashevich errantly headed a Greece throw-in behind the Russian defense for Giorgos Karagounis to pounce on. Greece's captain sprinted in on goal and struck the ball at the back post under keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev in first-half stoppage time to send the Russians reeling into the locker rooms. Ignashevich appeared to have conceded an additional golden scoring opportunity for Greece upon tripping Karagounis in the Russian penalty area early in the second half, but referee Jonas Eriksson instead booked Karagounis for what he believed to be simulation. This being Karagounis' second yellow card of the tournament, Greece was to be without its suspended captain in the next round. With that victory, Greece qualified to the quarterfinals for a second time after their successful Euro 2004 campaign.

Quarter-finals

Greece played against Germany for a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 but they were eliminated after a 4-2 loss in the quarter-final match. Gdansk PGE Arena GER-GRE Euro 2012 17.jpg
Greece played against Germany for a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 but they were eliminated after a 4–2 loss in the quarter-final match.

In the quarter-finals, Greece met with a Germany side that won all three of its group matches against Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands. Greece applied very little pressure in the midfield in the opening period, slowing the tempo of the game and affording the Germans the majority of possession. Young Sotiris Ninis switched off momentarily in defence, allowing German captain Philipp Lahm to cut infield and open the scoring with a long-distance strike. Yet the Greeks remained calm as in Georgios Samaras they carried a constant threat. On the counter-attack, they pulled level early in the second half; regaining possession in their defensive third, Giorgos Fotakis found Dimitris Salpingidis streaking 40 yards deep into German territory. Salpingidis delivered a ball five yards in front of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, which Samaras was able to meet and power underneath Neuer for the equalizer. Twenty minutes later, however, the Germans led 4–1. Greece scored an 89th-minute penalty kick by Salpingidis, but the match ended 4–2 to the Germans, ending Greece's Euro 2012 campaign.

2014 World Cup

Qualifying

Greek national team in 2013 20130814 AT-GR Nationalteam Griechenland 2414.JPG
Greek national team in 2013

To reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Greece had to contend with a team on the rise in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a dangerous Slovakian side seemingly in decline since its memorable 2010 World Cup qualifying and finals performances. Latvia, a familiar qualification foe for Greece in its previous two major tournaments (2010 World Cup, Euro 2012), joined the fray as well. Ahead of those aforesaid tournaments, Bosnia twice narrowly missed out on its first major international tournament appearance due to consecutive playoff defeats at the hands of Portugal. No playoff would be necessary for Bosnia in 2013, as it won its qualifying group over Greece on goal difference. The decisive match was in Bosnia on 22 March, when Greece succumbed to three set-piece goals (two free-kick headers and one penalty miss rebound) in a 3–1 defeat. Greece's defense proved rigid throughout qualifying, conceding zero goals in open play. Four goals were allowed by the Greeks in ten games, the first of which was a penalty by Latvia, and yet four goals were too many for a relatively unproductive Greek attack to overcome. Though Greece was shut out just once, the team only managed to score 12 goals, an output Bosnia reached in its second game.

Following group play Romania, which claimed second place over Hungary and Turkey in a group dominated by the Dutch, awaited Greece in a two-legged playoff. The last time the two sides met in late 2011, Romania came into Greece and dealt Fernando Santos his first defeat as Greece manager in his 18th game at the helm. The Greeks reversed the prior 3–1 result in their favour this time, scoring each goal through skillful one-touch passing and finishing. Kostas Mitroglou accounted for three of Greece's four goals in a 4–2 aggregate playoff victory, though none were actual game-winners. Dimitris Salpingidis notched the game winner in Athens, while the second leg finished 1–1 in Bucharest. [34]

Finals

Arena das Dunas before the Japan vs Greece match. Arena das Dunas 19062014.JPG
Arena das Dunas before the Japan vs Greece match.

Aracaju was chosen as the team's base camp for the tournament in Brazil. [35] [36] [37] Greece was drawn into Group C with Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire and Japan and ultimately created for itself an extraordinarily similar tournament experience as it did two years prior at Euro 2012. The Greeks were put in an early 1–0 hole in their first game against a Colombia team whose exuberant fans generated a hostile away environment. Following its historical penchant, Greece thrived playing from behind as the underdog. Panagiotis Kone narrowly missed equalizing just one minute after Colombia's fifth-minute goal. Trailing 2–0 in the 63rd minute, Fanis Gekas' header off a cross six yards from an open goal caromed off the crossbar for Greece's best chance of the match. The Colombians proved to be the more clinical finishers, prevailing over the Europeans 3–0 despite an even number of goal shots for both teams and a slight possession advantage in Greece's favor. [38] To stave off the threat of elimination, the Greeks needed to earn at least a point in their second match with Japan, who sat alongside them at the bottom of Group C. The task grew more difficult once two errant slide tackles by captain Kostas Katsouranis each drew yellow cards and reduced Greece to ten men in the 38th minute. Eight Greek players on the pitch had endured the same scenario against Poland in 2012 and once again their resolve did not break. Japan controlled much of possession in a 0–0 draw and remained tied with Greece on points due to poor finishing from close range. The draw made it necessary for Greece to defeat Ivory Coast in its final group match in order to reach the round of 16 for the first time in its history. Unlike its mirror-scenario final group match against Russia in Euro 2012, the Greeks came out as the aggressors from the outset against Ivory Coast. An early injury to center midfielder Panagiotis Kone brought on young Olympiacos' midfielder Andreas Samaris, who would score his first international goal after intercepting a faulty back-pass by an Ivorian defender. Also unlike its 2012 match with Russia, capitalizing on a first half opponent miscue would not be enough to carry Greece to a needed victory. Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony equalized for Ivory Coast in the 73rd minute. The Ivorians promptly adopted Greece's defensive strategy but could not hold out until the game's end. In the first minute of stoppage time, Ivory Coast striker Giovanni Sio obstructed a Samaras shot by clipping him from behind in the Ivorian penalty area, resulting in a Greek penalty kick which Samaras converted with 30 seconds remaining in the game, to wild celebrations in Greece. [39]

As Group C runners-up Greece was paired in the round of 16 with Group D shock winner Costa Rica, who won its first-ever World Cup group stage over former world champions Uruguay, Italy and England. Trailing 1–0 but dominating possession due in part to a second yellow card to Costa Rican Óscar Duarte, the Greeks forced extra time through a Sokratis Papastathopoulos equalizer ten seconds into stoppage time. This would prove to be the only goal Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas would concede in open play throughout the tournament. Navas stayed strong to turn away several significant opportunities for the Greeks throughout the 30 minutes of extra time, including a Fanis Gekas' penalty in the game's concluding penalty shootout. Costa Rica claimed its first World Cup knockout stage victory and denied Greece its first by defeating the Greeks 5–3 on penalties.

Euro 2016 qualifying: Reorganization and decline

The team appointed Claudio Ranieri as head coach in July 2014. He was sacked in November of the same year after a shocking home defeat to the Faroe Islands. [40] Sergio Markarián was appointed in his place, but he too has come under fire, especially after a second loss at the hand of the Faroe Islands and the team's terrible performances in the remaining UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying. The team's form after September 2014 proved to be abysmal, with no wins in over a year, losing to Romania, the Faroe Islands (twice), Finland, Northern Ireland and even Luxembourg in a friendly match over that period. Greece finished in bottom place in their Euro Qualifying group, earning just one victory against Hungary in the final round, and failing to qualify for the tournament. Greece, along with the Netherlands and Bosnia and Herzegovina were the only nations from Pot 1 not to qualify for the finals. Those three had taken part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Incidentally, the three teams would also fail to qualify for the World Cup in 2018.

2018 World Cup qualifying: resurgence

In attempting to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Greece would suffer a second successive failure to reach a major tournament. They finished second in Group H of the European qualifying stages, nine points behind runaway leaders Belgium and only two points clear of third placed Bosnia and Herzegovina. Greece began their qualification campaign well with three straight wins against Gibraltar, Cyprus and Estonia, only conceding one goal in the process, and they remained unbeaten for seven matches after drawing their next four games; two of which ended 1–1 in succession against Bosnia and Belgium, and the other two ended 0–0 in the return fixtures against Bosnia and Estonia. Greece then lost 2–1 to group leaders Belgium, but managed to beat Cyprus and Gibraltar to ensure second place in the group, and qualification for the play-off round.

Greece were subsequently drawn against Croatia in the play-off round, where they were knocked out over two legs; a 4–1 away defeat set the tone for Greece's campaign, and in the second leg they drew a blank in a 0–0 stalemate against the Croats to signify the end of their World Cup hopes. Kostas Mitroglou finished as Greece's top scorer throughout their campaign, scoring six goals. [41]

2020 Euro qualifying: rise and fall

Greece's qualification campaign for the UEFA Euro 2020 started well with a 2-0 away win against Liechtenstein and an away match against Bosnia and Herzegovina that saw Bosnia take a 2-0 lead before half time, but Greece scored two goals, leading to a 2-2 draw. However, they lost the following two matches, which were both at home, being defeated 0-3 by Italy and succumbing to a shocking 2-3 defeat to Armenia. It got worse for them after a 1-0 away loss to Finland and a home draw with Liechtenstein. After these disappointing results John van 't Schip decided not to call some of the leading members at that time, such as Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Kostas Manolas, for the remaining games. These decisions might be shocking but a young team with passion was built and the Greek national football team showed a massive improvement in the style of playing and even achieved a 2-1 win against the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team. As a result there are high hopes for the future.

Stadiums

The Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, the home ground of Greece from 2004 until 2017. Argentina Vs Italy 3-0 2004 Olympics Athens.jpg
The Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, the home ground of Greece from 2004 until 2017.

Traditionally, Greece have spent most of their history playing their home matches in different stadiums primarily in or near Athens, but also in a number of other cities around the country. The home ground of the national team was the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, since its reconstruction in 2004 until 2017. [42]

Since their first international game in 1929 and for the next 33 years Greece constantly used as home ground the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. Their first home match away from it was played at the Nikos Goumas Stadium in 1962, while the Karaiskakis Stadium was used for a first time in 1964, when it was renovated. In 1966, the Kaftanzoglio Stadium in Thessaloniki became the first stadium outside of the Athens area to be used. Since then all these stadiums were alternately used until the early 1980s, while some other stadiums were inaugurated by the national team such as the Thessaloniki's Toumba Stadium and Harilaou Stadium in 1975 and 1977 respectively, along with Greece's first visits in 1976 to grounds outside of the two major cities, such as the Panachaiki Stadium in Patras and the Kavala Stadium in Kavala. In 1982, the Georgios Kamaras Stadium was added to the list of home grounds for the national team, the first in Athens out of the three major stadiums.

On 16 November 1983, the newly built Athens Olympic Stadium, to date the largest stadium in the country, housed the national team for a first time in a qualifier for UEFA Euro 1984 against Denmark and served as its primary home ground for the rest of the 1980s and the 1990s, until 2001 when it was closed for renovations. Meanwhile, a large number of matches was held in various stadiums including old choices and some new in provincial cities all over the country, something that did not change neither in the early 2000s, when the Athens Olympic Stadium was almost abandoned. Since 2004 and the use mainly of the Karaiskakis Stadium, very few of Greece's matches have occasionally been played in other stadiums as well. They returned to OAKA in 2018 for a friendly against Switzerland and announced they will play their home matches for the new UEFA Nations League there, as well. [43] For the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers, they were slated split time between OAKA in Athens, and the Pankritio Stadium in Heraklion on the island of Crete, but with the latter requiring upgrades to be fit for FIFA standards, the entire campaign has been held in Athens.

Kits and crest

Greece's traditional colours are blue and white, originating from the Greek flag. Although blue was used as the home kit since the team's inception, white became the primary home color following UEFA Euro 2004. In recent decades, Greece wear either a set of white jerseys, shorts and socks, or an all-blue combination. Formerly, the kit consisted of a combination of blue jerseys and white shorts and vice versa. Meanwhile, Greece's kit has occasionally featured stripes, crosses or other designs, as well as various values of blue.

On 10 April 2013, the Hellenic Football Federation announced a partnership with American manufacturer Nike, which is Greece's current official supplier, with their first kit debuting on 7 June 2013 in the away match to Lithuania. [44] [45] On 4 March 2014, Greece unveiled their latest kit also worn at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. [46]

The crest (εθνόσημο means "national sign"), [47] which is used in the kit, is the official emblem of the national team. [48]

Kit manufacturers

Kit supplierPeriod
Flag of Japan.svg Asics 1980–1981
Flag of Germany.svg Puma 1982–1987
Flag of Germany.svg Adidas 1988–1989
Flag of Japan.svg Asics 1989–1991
Flag of Italy.svg Diadora 1991–1998
Flag of Italy.svg Lotto 1998–2001
Flag of France.svg Le Coq Sportif 2001–2003
Flag of Germany.svg Adidas2003–2012
Flag of the United States.svg Nike 2013–present

Nicknames

Flag of Greece held by fans Flaga Grecji.jpg
Flag of Greece held by fans

Traditionally, Greece is referred to by the media and the Greeks in general simply as Ethniki (Εθνική) in Greek, which literally means 'National'. The team is often called Galanolefki (Sky blue-white) due to the use of the colours of the Greek flag as kit colours. Both nicknames are used for the country's national teams in other sports as well.

During the opening ceremony at the UEFA Euro 2004, which took place right before the inaugural game of the tournament between Greece and hosts Portugal, a replica of a 16th-century ship was used referring to the expeditions of the Portuguese explorers of that time. Greek radio sports journalist Georgios Helakis, while broadcasting the opening match, commented that "since the Portuguese team appeared in such a ship, it's time for us to become pirates and steal the victory". Eventually, Greece beat the hosts and the team was described as Piratiko, meaning the 'Pirate ship', which emerged as the new nickname of the team repeated at every win during the tournament. Especially after the Greek win in the final to Portugal, the new nickname was established to commemorate the coronation of Greece as European champions.

Rivalries

Greece has a historical rivalry with Turkey; having played them a total of 13 times, winning three, drawing three and losing seven games. [49] Both countries have been described as "punching above their weight"; with Greece winning Euro 2004 despite being classified as underdogs prior to the competition, and Turkey followed-up their World Cup semi-final appearance in 2002 by advancing to the semi-finals of Euro 2008, where they were knocked out by Germany. Due to tension between the two countries and the dispute over Cyprus, coupled with several incidents occurring during matches between Turkish and Greek clubs, it has been described as one of the biggest international football rivalries. [50]

Competitive record

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification
YearRoundPositionPldWD*LGFGAPldWD*LGFGA
Flag of Uruguay.svg 1930 Did not enterDid not enter
Flag of Italy.svg 1934 Did not qualify100104
Flag of France.svg 1938 3201512
Flag of Brazil.svg 1950 Did not enterDid not enter
Flag of Switzerland.svg 1954 Did not qualify420232
Flag of Sweden.svg 1958 401329
Flag of Chile.svg 1962 410338
Flag of England.svg 1966 62131014
Flag of Mexico.svg 1970 6231139
Flag of Germany.svg 1974 4004511
Flag of Argentina.svg 1978 411226
Flag of Spain.svg 1982 83141013
Flag of Mexico.svg 1986 6123510
Flag of Italy.svg 1990 6123315
Flag of the United States.svg 1994 Group Stage24th30030108620102
Flag of France.svg 1998 Did not qualify8422114
Flag of South Korea.svg Flag of Japan.svg 2002 8215717
Flag of Germany.svg 2006 12633159
Flag of South Africa.svg 2010 Group Stage25th310225127322110
Flag of Brazil.svg 2014 Round of 1613th41213512921166
Flag of Russia.svg 2018 Did not qualify125521810
Flag of Qatar.svg 2022 To be determinedTo be determined
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Flag of Mexico.svg Flag of the United States.svg 2026
TotalRound of 163/2110226520128542945159171
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
Greece's World Cup record
First MatchFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 4–0 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Foxborough, United States; 21 June 1994)
Biggest WinFlag of Greece.svg  Greece 2–1 Nigeria  Flag of Nigeria.svg
(Bloemfontein, South Africa; 17 June 2010)
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 2–1 Ivory Coast  Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg
(Fortaleza, Brazil; 24 June 2014)
Biggest DefeatFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 4–0 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Foxborough, United States; 21 June 1994)
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 0–4 Bulgaria  Flag of Bulgaria.svg
(Chicago, United States; 26 June 1994)
Best Result
Worst ResultGroup Stage at the 1994 and 2010 FIFA World Cup

UEFA European Championship

UEFA European Championship record Qualification
YearRoundPositionPldWD*LGFGAPldWD*LGFGA
Flag of France.svg 1960 Did not qualify201128
Flag of Spain.svg 1964 Did not enterWithdrew
Flag of Italy.svg 1968 Did not qualify622289
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg 1972 611438
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg 1976 6231129
Flag of Italy.svg 1980 Group Stage8th3012146312137
Flag of France.svg 1984 Did not qualify8323810
Flag of Germany.svg 1988 84131213
Flag of Sweden.svg 1992 8323119
Flag of England.svg 1996 10604239
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Flag of the Netherlands.svg 2000 10433138
Flag of Portugal.svg 2004 Champions1st641174860284
Flag of Austria.svg Flag of Switzerland.svg 2008 Group Stage16th3003151210112510
Flag of Poland.svg Flag of Ukraine.svg 2012 Quarter Finals7th41125710730145
Flag of France.svg 2016 Did not qualify10136714
Flag of Europe.svg 2020 8224913
Flag of Germany.svg 2024 To be determined
Total1 Title4/16165381420118542539168136
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
Greece's European Championship record
First MatchFlag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 1–0 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Naples, Italy; 11 June 1980)
Biggest WinFlag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 1–2 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Porto, Portugal; 12 June 2004)
Flag of France.svg  France 0–1 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Lisbon, Portugal; 25 June 2004)
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 1–0 (a.e.t.) Czech Republic  Flag of the Czech Republic.svg
(Porto, Portugal; 1 July 2004)
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 0–1 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Lisbon, Portugal; 4 July 2004)
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 1–0 Russia  Flag of Russia.svg
(Warsaw, Poland; 16 June 2012)
Biggest DefeatFlag of Greece.svg  Greece 1–3 Czechoslovakia  Flag of the Czech Republic.svg
(Rome, Italy; 14 June 1980)
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 0–2 Sweden  Flag of Sweden.svg
(Salzburg, Austria; 10 June 2008)
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 4–2 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Gdańsk, Poland; 22 June 2012)
Best ResultChampions at the 2004 UEFA European Championship
Worst ResultGroup Stage at the 2008 UEFA European Championship

UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League record
YearDivisionRoundPosPldWDLGFGA
2018–19 C Group stage3rd630345
2020–21 C To be determined
TotalGroup stage
League C
1/1630345

FIFA Confederations Cup

FIFA Confederations Cup record
YearRoundPositionPldWD*LGFGAQualified as
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg 1992 Did not qualifyDid not qualify
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg 1995
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg 1997
Flag of Mexico.svg 1999
Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg Flag of Japan.svg 2001
Flag of France.svg 2003
Flag of Germany.svg 2005 Group stage7th301204 UEFA Euro 2004 winners
Flag of South Africa.svg 2009 Did not qualifyDid not qualify
Flag of Brazil.svg 2013
Flag of Russia.svg 2017
TotalGroup stage1/10301204
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
Greece's FIFA Confederations Cup record
First MatchFlag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 3–0 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Leipzig, Germany; 16 June 2005)
Biggest WinN/A
Biggest DefeatFlag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 3–0 Greece  Flag of Greece.svg
(Leipzig, Germany; 16 June 2005)
Best ResultGroup Stage at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup
Worst ResultGroup Stage at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup

Olympic Games

Olympic Games Record
YearHostRoundPos.GPWDLGSGA
1896 Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg Athens No football tournament
1900 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Paris Did not qualify
1904 Flag of the United States (1896-1908).svg St. Louis
1908 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
1912 Flag of Sweden.svg Stockholm
1920 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Antwerp Preliminary RoundN/A100109
1924 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Paris Did not qualify
1928 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Amsterdam
1932 Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Los Angeles No football tournament
1936 Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg Berlin Did not qualify
1948 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
1952 Flag of Finland.svg Helsinki Preliminary RoundN/A100112
1956 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Melbourne Did not qualify
1960 Flag of Italy.svg Rome
1964 Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Tokyo
1968 Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City
1972 Flag of Germany.svg Munich
1976 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Montreal
1980 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Moscow
1984 Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles
1988 Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg Seoul
Since 1992 See Greece national under-23 football team
TotalPreliminary Round2/192002111

Mediterranean Games

Mediterranean Games record
YearRankGPWDLGSGA
Flag of Egypt (1922-1958).svg 1951 1st220060
Flag of Spain (1945-1977).svg 1955 Did not enter
Flag of Lebanon.svg 1959
Flag of Italy.svg 1963
Flag of Tunisia (1959-1999).svg 1967
19711987 See Greece national under-23 team
1991–presentSee Greece national under-20 team
Total1/5220060

Honours

Greeks celebrating the victory in the 2004 European Championship. Greeks celebrating Euro 2004 victory dsc06432.jpg
Greeks celebrating the victory in the 2004 European Championship.

Other awards

Coaching staff

As of 1 November 2018
Technical Director Flag of Greece.svg Kostas Konstantinidis
Sporting Director Flag of Greece.svg Takis Fyssas
Manager Flag of the Netherlands.svg John Van't Schip
Assistant Manager Flag of the Netherlands.svg Aron Winter
Assistant Manager Flag of Australia (converted).svg Michael Valkanis
Goalkeeping Coach Flag of Greece.svg Fanis Katergiannakis
First-Team Doctor Flag of Greece.svg Giorgos Oikonomidis
Fitness Coach Flag of Greece.svg Leonidas Dimitrakopoulos
Ergophysiologist Flag of Greece.svg Yiannis Kotsis
Physiotherapist Flag of Greece.svg Loukas Karamanis

Results and schedule

The following is a list of match results from the previous 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

For all past match results of the national team, see the team's results page.

2018

2019

Players

Current squad

The following players were called up to the Greece squad for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures against Armenia and Finland, on 15 and 18 November 2019 respectively.

No.Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
1 GK Vasilis Barkas (1994-05-30) 30 May 1994 (age 25)100 Flag of Greece.svg AEK Athens
1 GK Odysseas Vlachodimos (1994-04-26) 26 April 1994 (age 25)40 Flag of Portugal.svg Benfica
1 GK Alexandros Paschalakis (1989-07-28) 28 July 1989 (age 30)30 Flag of Greece.svg PAOK

2 DF Kostas Stafylidis (Captain) (1993-12-02) 2 December 1993 (age 25)292 Flag of Germany.svg 1899 Hoffenheim
2 DF Dimitris Siovas (1988-09-16) 16 September 1988 (age 31)180 Flag of Spain.svg Leganés
2 DF Michalis Bakakis (1991-03-18) 18 March 1991 (age 28)130 Flag of Greece.svg AEK Athens
2 DF Dimitris Giannoulis (1995-10-17) 17 October 1995 (age 24)50 Flag of Greece.svg PAOK
2 DF Leonardo Koutris (1995-07-23) 23 July 1995 (age 24)50 Flag of Greece.svg Olympiacos
2 DF Kostas Tsimikas (1996-05-12) 12 May 1996 (age 23)30 Flag of Greece.svg Olympiacos
2 DF Vasilis Lampropoulos (1990-03-03) 3 March 1990 (age 29)20 Flag of Spain.svg Deportivo La Coruña
2 DF Pantelis Chatzidiakos (1997-01-18) 18 January 1997 (age 22)20 Flag of the Netherlands.svg AZ

3 MF Giannis Fetfatzidis (1990-12-21) 21 December 1990 (age 28)273 Flag of Greece.svg Aris
3 MF Petros Mantalos (1991-08-31) 31 August 1991 (age 28)252 Flag of Greece.svg AEK Athens
3 MF Dimitris Kourbelis (1993-11-02) 2 November 1993 (age 26)141 Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos
3 MF Andreas Bouchalakis (1993-04-05) 5 April 1993 (age 26)90 Flag of Greece.svg Olympiacos
3 MF Charis Mavrias (1994-02-21) 21 February 1994 (age 25)80 Flag of Cyprus.svg Omonia
3 MF Kostas Galanopoulos (1997-12-28) 28 December 1997 (age 21)20 Flag of Greece.svg AEK Athens
3 MF Sebastian Vasiliadis (1997-10-04) 4 October 1997 (age 22)00 Flag of Germany.svg Paderborn

4 FW Tasos Bakasetas (1993-06-28) 28 June 1993 (age 26)230 Flag of Turkey.svg Alanyaspor
4 FW Efthymis Koulouris (1996-03-06) 6 March 1996 (age 23)130 Flag of France.svg Toulouse
4 FW Tasos Donis (1996-08-29) 29 August 1996 (age 23)101 Flag of France.svg Reims
4 FW Giorgos Masouras (1994-01-01) 1 January 1994 (age 25)91 Flag of Greece.svg Olympiacos
4 FW Vangelis Pavlidis (1998-11-21) 21 November 1998 (age 20)31 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Willem II
4 FW Dimitris Limnios (1998-05-27) 27 May 1998 (age 21)30 Flag of Greece.svg PAOK

Recent call-ups

The following players have also been called up to the Greece squad within the last twelve months.

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
GK Sokratis Dioudis (1993-02-03) 3 February 1993 (age 26)00 Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos v. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina , 15 October 2019

DF Panagiotis Retsos (1998-08-09) 9 August 1998 (age 21)50 Flag of Germany.svg Bayer Leverkusen v. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina , 15 October 2019
DF Kostas Manolas (1991-06-14) 14 June 1991 (age 28)421 Flag of Italy.svg Napoli v. Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein , 8 September 2019
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos (1988-06-09) 9 June 1988 (age 31)903 Flag of England.svg Arsenal v. Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein , 8 September 2019
DF Vasilis Torosidis (1985-06-10) 10 June 1985 (age 34)10110 Flag of Greece.svg Olympiacos v. Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein , 8 September 2019
DF Giannis Kotsiras (1992-12-16) 16 December 1992 (age 26)20 Flag of Greece.svg Asteras Tripolis v. Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia , 11 June 2019
DF Giorgos Valerianos (1992-02-13) 13 February 1992 (age 27)10 Flag of Cyprus.svg Pafos v. Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia , 11 June 2019
DF Spyros Risvanis (1994-01-03) 3 January 1994 (age 25)10 Flag of Greece.svg Atromitos v. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina , 26 March 2019
DF Dimitris Kolovetsios (1991-10-16) 16 October 1991 (age 28)00 Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos v. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina , 26 March 2019

MF Zeca INJ (1988-08-31) 31 August 1988 (age 31)192 Flag of Denmark.svg Copenhagen v. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina , 15 October 2019
MF Manolis Siopis (1994-05-14) 14 May 1994 (age 25)30 Flag of Turkey.svg Alanyaspor v. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina , 15 October 2019
MF Andreas Samaris (1989-06-13) 13 June 1989 (age 30)391 Flag of Portugal.svg Benfica v. Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein , 8 September 2019
MF Dimitris Pelkas (1993-10-26) 26 October 1993 (age 26)150 Flag of Greece.svg PAOK v. Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein , 8 September 2019
MF Dimitris Kolovos (1993-04-27) 27 April 1993 (age 26)91 Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos v. Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein , 8 September 2019
MF Kostas Fortounis INJ (1992-10-16) 16 October 1992 (age 27)447 Flag of Greece.svg Olympiacos v. Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia , 11 June 2019

FW Marios Vrousai INJ (1998-07-02) 2 July 1998 (age 21)20 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Willem II v. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina , 15 October 2019
FW Fiorin Durmishaj (1996-11-14) 14 November 1996 (age 22)10 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Waasland-Beveren v. Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia , 11 June 2019
FW Kostas Mitroglou (1988-03-12) 12 March 1988 (age 31)6517 Flag of the Netherlands.svg PSV v. Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein , 23 March 2019

INJ Not part of the current squad due to injury
RET Retired from international competition
SUS Suspended due to accumulated yellow/red cards

Previous squads

Records and statistics

Most capped players

As of 8 September 2019

  Still active players are highlighted
Greece's iconic midfielder and former captain Giorgos Karagounis is the most capped player in the history of the national team with 139 caps. Georgios Karagounis 2010.jpg
Greece's iconic midfielder and former captain Giorgos Karagounis is the most capped player in the history of the national team with 139 caps.
#NameCareerCapsGoalsPosition
1 Giorgos Karagounis 1999–201413910MF
2 Thodoris Zagorakis 1994–20071203MF
3 Kostas Katsouranis 2003–201511610MF
4 Vasilis Torosidis 2007–10110DF
5 Angelos Basinas 1999–20091007MF
6 Stratos Apostolakis 1986–1998965DF
7 Antonis Nikopolidis 1999–2008900GK
8 Sokratis Papastathopoulos 2008–903DF
9 Angelos Charisteas 2001–20118825FW
10 Dimitris Salpingidis 2005–20148213FW

Top goalscorers

As of 8 September 2019

  Still active players are highlighted
Nikos Anastopoulos, top goalscorer of the national team. Nikos Anastopoulos (1987).jpg
Nikos Anastopoulos, top goalscorer of the national team.
Angelos Charisteas, scorer of Greece's winning goal in Euro 2004 Final and second all-time scorer of Greece with 25 goals. Charisteas 2008.jpg
Angelos Charisteas, scorer of Greece's winning goal in Euro 2004 Final and second all-time scorer of Greece with 25 goals.
#NameCareerGoalsCapsPositionAverage
1 Nikos Anastopoulos 1977–19882974FW0.392
2 Angelos Charisteas 2001–20112588FW0.284
3 Fanis Gekas 2005–20142478FW0.308
4 Dimitris Saravakos 1982–19942278FW0.282
5 Mimis Papaioannou 1963–19782161MF0.328
6 Nikos Machlas 1993–20021861FW0.295
7 Demis Nikolaidis 1995–20041754FW0.315
Kostas Mitroglou 2009–1765FW0.262
9 Panagiotis Tsalouchidis 1987–19951676MF0.211
10 Giorgos Sideris 1958–19701428FW0.500

Captains

List of captaincy periods of the various captains throughout the years.

NamePeriodNotes
Thanasis Bebis1951–1954
Ilias Rosidis 1954–1960
Kostas Polychroniou 1961–1967
Giorgos Sideris 1968–1970
Mimis Domazos 1970–1979
Giorgos Koudas 1979–1982European Championship captain (1980)
First captain of Greece national football team in a major competition
Anthimos Kapsis 1982
Nikos Anastopoulos 1983–1988
Tasos Mitropoulos 1988–1994World Cup captain (1994)
First captain of Greece national football team in a World Cup
Stratos Apostolakis 1994–1998
Demis Nikolaidis 1998–1999
Marinos Ouzounidis 1999–2001
Thodoris Zagorakis 2001–2007European Championship winning captain (2004)
Angelos Basinas 2007–2009European Championship captain (2008)
Giorgos Karagounis 2009–2014World Cup captain (2010)
European Championship captain (2012)
World Cup captain (2014)
Dimitris Salpingidis 2014
Vasilis Torosidis 2014–2019
Sokratis Papastathopoulos 2019–

Manager history

The following table lists all assigned football managers for the national team and their record since Greece's first international game in April 1929.

Legendary manager Otto Rehhagel, under whose guidance Greece were crowned European champions in 2004. Otto Rehhagel1.JPG
Legendary manager Otto Rehhagel, under whose guidance Greece were crowned European champions in 2004.
Alketas Panagoulias, with whom Greece first appeared at the European Championship (1980) and the World Cup (1994). Alketas Panagoulias (1986).jpg
Alketas Panagoulias, with whom Greece first appeared at the European Championship (1980) and the World Cup (1994).

As of 15 October 2019

NameGreece careerPldWDLGFGAWin %Major competitions
Flag of Greece.svg Apostolos Nikolaidis 1929
1934–1935
511361320%
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Jan Kopsiva1929–1930311141033.3%
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Josef Svejik19301001030%
Flag of Greece.svg Hellenic Football Federation 1930–19315104121520%
Flag of Greece.svg Loukas Panourgias 193240042140%
Flag of Greece.svg Kostas Negrepontis 1933–1934
1938
1948–1950
1953
165110232531.3%
Flag of Greece.svg Kostas Konstantaras193540136160%
Flag of Hungary.svg József Künsztler 193620026100%
Flag of England.svg Alan Bucket193810011110%
Flag of Greece.svg Antonis Migiakis 1951
1952–1953
1954–1955
1958
1961
12345131617%
Flag of Greece.svg Nikos Katrantzos1951110010100%
Flag of Greece.svg Ioannis Chelmis1951
1954
1955
831491037.5%
Flag of Greece.svg Kostas Andritsos19561001170%
Flag of Italy.svg Rino Martini1957–1958721481728.6%
Flag of France.svg Paul Baron1959–1960510441520%
Flag of Greece.svg Tryfon Tzanetis 1960–1961
1962–1964
11515192545.5%
Flag of Greece.svg Lakis Petropoulos 1964–1965
1967
1969–1971
1976–1977
356920346217.1%
Flag of Greece.svg Panos Markovic 1966–1967220061100%
Flag of Greece.svg Kostas Karapatis19681001010%
Flag of Greece.svg Dan Georgiadis 1968–19698341191337.5%
Ulster Banner.svg Billy Bingham 1971–197312237112316.7%
Flag of Greece.svg Alketas Panagoulias 1973–1976
1977–1981
1992–1994
742320318912131.1% Symbol confirmed.svg 1980 European Championship  – Group stage
Symbol confirmed.svg 1994 World Cup  – Group stage
Flag of Greece.svg Christos Archontidis 1982–1984215313173323.8%
Flag of Greece.svg Miltos Papapostolou 1984–198846141517466130.4%
Flag of Greece.svg Alekos Sofianidis 1988–19897313131042.9%
Flag of Greece.svg Antonis Georgiadis 1989–1991
1992
3011910343836.7%
Flag of Greece.svg Stefanos Petritsis19921001010%
Flag of Greece.svg Kostas Polychroniou 1994–19983417611563250%
Flag of Romania.svg Anghel Iordănescu 1998–1999962111765.1%
Flag of Greece.svg Vasilis Daniil 1999–2001301488463446.7%
Flag of Greece.svg Nikos Christidis 20011010000%
Flag of Germany.svg Otto Rehhagel 2001–201010653233013811150% Symbol confirmed.svg 2004 European Championship  Champions
Symbol confirmed.svg 2008 European Championship  – Group stage
Symbol confirmed.svg 2010 World Cup  – Group stage
Flag of Portugal.svg Fernando Santos 2010–20144926176563653.1% Symbol confirmed.svg 2012 European Championship  – Quarter-final
Symbol confirmed.svg 2014 World Cup  – Last 16
Flag of Italy.svg Claudio Ranieri 20144013150%
Flag of Greece.svg Kostas Tsanas 2014, 201551135920%
Flag of Uruguay.svg Sergio Markarián 20153021120%
Flag of Germany.svg Michael Skibbe 2015–20182811512303139.3% [*] [52]
Flag of Greece.svg Angelos Anastasiadis 2018–2019721481128.6%
Flag of the Netherlands.svg John van 't Schip 2019–41123525%
Total1929–present60222314323673985236.9%
Santos has the national record of 17 unbeaten games.

[*] Greece sanctioned for fielding ineligible player (Apostolos Giannou) in the international friendly match played between Turkey and Greece on 17 November 2015. The match is declared to be lost by forfeit and awarded 3–0 in favor of Turkey.

Competitive results

These are Greece's results in the three major competitions that they have participated in. The results in the main tournaments have been listed directly in the total column.

As of 15 October 2019

CompetitionTotalHomeAway
PldWDLGFGAGDWDLGFGAWDLGFGA
FIFA World Cup 138563151164191−27341416915822173573133
UEFA Euro 134592847182156+2636419106662324287690
FIFA Confederations Cup 301204−401204
UEFA Nations League 630345−12012110224
Total28111860103350356-6721836199125464267151231

Total results by opponent

a) Two games were against Great Britain's Olympic Team but were recognised as official games of the Greek National Team by the Hellenic Football Federation

FIFA ranking history

Greece's history in the FIFA World Rankings. The table shows the position that Greece held in December of each year (and the current position as of 2013), as well as the highest and lowest positions annually.

Greece national football team

Media coverage

Greece's qualifying matches and friendlies are currently televised by Cosmote Sport and Open TV, a trademark of Digea.

See also

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Further reading