Saturday, December 23, 2017

Greece Greatest All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Euro 2004
Please also see my
 All-Time World Cup Team Index.

The rest of Southeast Euorpe(Greece, Turkey and Albania)

Greece's journey in international football has been characterized by a remarkable transformation. Historically considered a lesser-known team on the global stage, Greece's rise to prominence began in the 1980s when they made their debut appearance in a major tournament, UEFA Euro 1980. Although they were unable to progress beyond the group stage, their qualification alone placed them among Europe's top eight footballing nations.

However, Greece struggled to replicate this early success and faced a lengthy absence from major tournaments until the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Their undefeated qualifying campaign provided a glimmer of hope, but their performance in the final tournament was disappointing, as they suffered defeat in all three group matches without managing to score a single goal. 

The turning point for Greek football came in 2004 at UEFA Euro, Against all odds, Greece emerged as the champions of Europe in only their second participation in the tournament. Dismissed as rank outsiders, they overcame formidable opponents, including defending champions France and tournament hosts Portugal.

Greece's success in Euro 2004 was built on a solid defensive strategy and a resilient team spirit. They demonstrated their prowess by defeating Portugal not once, but twice, first in the opening match of the tournament and again in the final. 

Euro 1980
GK: Antonios Nikopolidis Αντώνης Νικοπολίδης
Antonios Nikopolidis is regarded among the best Greek goalkeepers of all time having been awarded the most caps in the national team and playing an integral part in the UEFA Euro 2004 triumph.  He was the starting Greek keeper during the European Championship in 2004, where he was also voted goalkeeper of the Euro 2004 All Star team.  At the club level, he played with both Olympiakos and Panathinaikos back at home. 
Antonios Nikopolidis 
GK: Takis Ikonomopoulos Παναγιώτης  Οικονομόπουλος
Known as the Bird, he played for Panathinaikos at the 1971 European Cup Final.  Their European Cup run is considered to be Greece's first successes in the sport. While playing for Panathinaikos, he managed to not concede a single goal for 1,088 minutes (in a span of 13 consecutive games - a record for Greece which remains unbroken). The record spanned from 17 January 1965 until 9 May 1965.  He was capped 25 times.

GK: Nikos Sarganis Νίκος Σαργκάνης
In 1980, Nikos Sarganis shocked Greek football by leading Kastoria to victory in the Greek Cup.  He joined Olympiakos in 1980 and he left them for rival Panathinaikos in 1985.  In 1988, he helped them to win the Greek Cup by saving two penalties and scroing one himself against his old club Olymoakos during the penalty shootout. He was capped 48 times at the international level.

RB: Ilias Rosidis Ηλίας Ρωσίδης
Rosidis isa legend with Olympiacos faithful.  He captained the club during their golden era of the 1950s. From 1954 to 1959, Rosidis led the club to a then unheard of six consecutive Greek Championships and three Greek Cups.  During the 1950s, Rosidis was also a key member of the Greece national football team.  He earned 29 caps during this time period. Rossidis also played for Greece at the 1952 Olympic Games.

CB/RB: Giourkas Seitaridis  Γεώργιος  Σεϊταρίδης
Giourkas Seitaridis was part of their team which won the European Championship in 2004, for which he was voted into the Team of the Tournament.  He was capped 72 times.  He also went to the World Cup Finals in 2010 and the European Championship in 2008. He moved to Porto during the tournament. He last played in 2013 for Greek Superleague side Panathinaikos, having played previously at PAS Giannina, Porto, Dynamo Moscow and Atlético Madrid. 
Giourkas Seitaridis 
CB: Traianos Dellas Τραϊανός Δέλλας
Traianos Dellas impressed during Greece's victory at the European Championship in 2004, during which he became the only player to score a silver goal in an international football match. He earned the nickname 'the Colossus of Rhodes'.  In total, he had 53 caps for the national team.  In his club career, he played for many clubs, including spells in England and Italy.  In Greece, he was associated with AEK Athens.

CB: Stelios Manolas Στέλιος Μανωλάς
From 1978 to 1989, Stelios Manols played for AEK Athens.  He was considered one of their greatest defenders. He was one club man.  He  ended his career having played 447 matches in the 1st Division, ranking second in terms of appearances behind Mimis Papaioannou and twelfth in the history of the respective division.  He was capped 71 times.  He was a member of the team that played in  the 1994 World Cups.

CB: Sokratis Papastathopoulos Σωκράτης Παπασταθόπουλος
In 2005, Sokratis Papastathopoulos made his debut for AEK.  He played for Genoa in Italy between 2008 and 2010.  Then, he played briefly for AC Milan and Werder Bremen.  Between 2013 and 2018, he starred for Borussia Dortmund.  He had captained for them at one point.  Then, he played for Arsenal between 2018 and 2021.  He joined Olympiakos in 2021.   Since 2008, he played over 90 times for Greece.  He played in Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup Finals.

SW: Anthimos Kapsis Άνθιμος Καψής
Born in Astypalaia, Kapsis' family moved to Keratsini when he was young. Kapsis played for the Panathinaikos F.C. from 1969 until 1984 and was a member of that team when it played in the 1971 European Cup Final. Kapsis was capped 36 times by the Greece national team and was a member of the team that competed in Euro 1980.  His son Michalis Kapsis was a member of the national team that won Euro 2004.

LB: Konstantinos Iosifidis Κώστας Ιωσηφίδης
Konstantinos Iosifidis spent his entire career with a single club, PAOK. He is the only player in PAOK FC history that has won 4 titles, being part of the squad that won 2 cups in 1972 and 1974, and the 1976 and 1985 Greek league, being also captain in the latter.  The 1976 title was their first ever league title. From 1974 to 1982, he earned 51 caps for Greece.  He participated in UEFA European Championship in 1980, Greece's first major tournament.
Konstantinos Iosifidis 
LB: Grigoris Georgatos Γρηγόρης Γεωργάτος
Grigoris Georgatos spent most of his career with Olympiakos, but also played briefly in Italy for Inter Milan, but had a relatively uneventful career there,  He later played for AEK Athens.  Georgatos also earned 35 caps and scored 3 goals for the Greek national team having debuted on 6 September 1995. He left the national team in 2001 after reported dispute with Otto Rehhagel.  He did not play in Euro 2004.

DM: Theodoros Zagorakis Θεόδωρος Ζαγοράκης
Theodoros Zagorakis was the captain of the Greek national team that won the 2004 UEFA European Football Championship and he won Player of the Tournament.  He was at one point Greece all-time cap leader with 120 caps between 1994 and 2007. Professionally, he played for POAK and AEK Athens in Greece. He also had brief stints in England with Leicester City and in Italy with Bologna. He was elected as a Greek MEP at the May 2014 European Parliament election.
Theodoros Zagorakis
DM: Angelos Basinas Άγγελος Μπασινάς 
Angelos Basinas is best remembered for his key role in the Greek national team that won the 2004 European Championship. He provided the header through which Angelos Charisteas scored the winning goal in the Euro 2004 Final against Portugal. He became the captain of the national team after Zagorakis retired. For his club career, he played for Panathinaikos, Mallorca, Portsmouth and AEK Athens.

RM/CM:  Giorgos Karagounis Γεώργιος  Καραγκούνης
Giorgos Karagounis was a member of the UEFA Euro 2004-winning squad, and also represented Greece at Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup. With 139 appearances, he is the most capped player in the history of the Greece national team. He also served as their captain. In his club career, he played for Panathinaikos, Apollon Smyrni, Inter Milan, Benfica and Fulham. He retired after the World Cup Finals in 2014.
Giorgos Karagounis 
CM/AM: Takis Loukanidis  Τάκης Λουκανίδης
Loukanidis' father was killed by Bulgarian armed forces and soon after he was placed in an orphanage at age 10. He joined the senior team of Doxa Drama F.C. in 1955. Loukanidis made his debut with Panathinaikos in 1962. He ended his career at Aris Thessaloniki, where he won the Greek Cup in 1970. Loukanidis made 23 appearances and scored three goals for Greece from 1958 to 1967. 

LW: Vassilis Hatzipanagis Βασίλης Χατζηπαναγής
Born in the USSR of Greek refugees, Vassilis Hatzipanagis played for the Soviet Olympic team.  He was highly rated in the Soviet Union. He returned to Greece in 1976, where he played for Greece in one single friendly march.  He was ineligible to play for Greece due to his selection to the Soviet youth team.  However, he was considered to be Greece's greatest player and was elected as Greece's UEFA Jubilee Player. In his club career, he played for Pakhtakor(USSR) and Iraklis.
Vassilis Hatzipanagis
AM: Giorgos Koudas Γιώργος Κούδας
Giorgos Koudas began his career with PAOK where he played his entire career, making 504 appearances in the Alpha Ethniki from 1963 to 1984.  He was nicknamed "Alexander the Great" and a legend for PAOK fans. He had 43 caps between 1967 and 1982. He captained the Greek national team at the European Championship in 1980 held in Italy. The tournament was Greece's first ever international tournament.

AM: Mimis Domazos  Μίμης Δομάζος
Mimis Domazos is considered to be one of the greatest Greek footballers. He helped Panathinaikos FC to reach the 1971 European Cup Final before losing to Ajax.  It was a break through for Greek club football. He also played for AEK Athens. When he retired from playing in 1980, Domazos was declared the longest-active footballer in the history of Greek club football, having played for more than 21 years. 

FW: Dimitris Saravakos  Δημήτρης Σαραβάκος
Dimitris Saravakos started with Panionios in 1977. In 1984,  he moved to Panathinaikos FC, where he became a star.  He is the leading scorer in history with 16 goals in the Derby of the eternal enemies against Olympiacos. He also had a highly successful stints with AEK Athens between his two spells with Panathinaikos FC. Saravakos had 78 caps at the international level.  He is the fourth leading all-time scorer with 22 goals for the Greek national team.  In 1994, he captained Greece to its first World Cup Finals in its history.
Dimitris Saravakos
FW/AM: Mimis Papaioannou Μίμης Παπαϊωάννου
Mimis Papaioannou was a symbol of sportsmanship for AEK Athens and the Greek football. He played for the same team for the most of his career and was never shown a single red card with only three yellow cards.  From 1962 to 1979, he played for AEK Athens.  St one piont, he was invited to join Real Madrid, but turned it down.  He was capped 61 times by Greece scoring 21 goals being Greece's ever top scorer, at the time.

FW/AM: Georgios Delikaris Γεώργιος Δεληκάρης
Nicknamed the "Gianni Rivera of Greece", Georgios Delikaris is considered to be one of Olympiakos' greatest players.  He played for them between 1969 and 1978. He also left the club for arch rival Panathinaikos in 1978, which started a controversy in Greece.  However, he never settled down there and was never accepted by their fans. He retired at the age of 28. After retirement, he remained a mysterious figure, hiding from the spotlight. 

SS: Giorgos Sideris Γιώργος Σιδέρης
Giorgos Sideris is considered one of the greatest forwards in Olympiakos and Greek football history.  He finished second as the European Golden Boot in 1969.  He was the first Greek player to play for another European team outside Greece. In 1970, he transferred to Belgium's Royal Antwerp FC, but rejoined Olympiakos in 1972. For the national team, he was only capped 28 times, but he managed to score 14 goals.
Giorgos Sideris
ST/FW: Nikos Anastopoulos Νίκος Αναστόπουλος
Nikos Anastopoulos had over 70 caps between 1977 and 1988.  With 29 goals, he is the all time highest scorer for the Greek national football team.  He started with Panionios F.C., but was most prominently played professionally for Olympiakos where he won 4 league titles and considered one of their greatest playersHe won the Bronze Boot as the third highest scorer in Europe in the 1982–83 season.   He played briefly with Avellino in Italy.

LW/ST: Thomas Mavros Θωμάς Μαύρος
Thomas Mavros started with  Panionios in 1970.  He later played with AEK Athens between 1976 and 1987, where he helped them to reach the semifinal of the 1977 UEFA Cup. He was known as one of AEK Athens greatest players. Their fans called him "the God". He returned to Panionios in 1987. He is the all-time leading scorer in the Greek league and is also the youngest ever scorer at the age of 16 years old.  He had 36 caps for Greece and went to Euro 1980 in Italy.
Thomas Mavros
Honorable Mention
Achilleas Grammatikopoulos, Stelios Serafeidis, Nikos Christidis, Ilias Atmatsidis, Kostas Katsouranis, Avraam Papadopoulos, Ioannis Kalitzakis, Stratos Apostolakis, Nikos Dabizas, Kostas Manolas, Michalis Kapsis, Stelios Giannakopoulos, Takis Loukanidis, Andreas Papaemmanouil, Elias Atmatsidis, Antonis Minou,  Antonis Antoniadis, Vassilios Tsiartas, Nikos Petzaropoulos, Vasilis Torosidis, Kostas Katsouranis, Kostas Eleftherakis, Kostas Frantzeskos, Angelos Charisteas, Dimitris Salpingidis, Kostas Nestoridis.

Squad Explanation
-- In the beginning, I did not think I have enough information to do a Greek all-time team.  So I did my rest of Southeast Euorpe(Greece, Turkey and Albania). Upon further review, I created this blog team in 2017 for Greece.  Greece won an European Champion and deserved to have its own all-time team.
-- In the summer of 2021, I decided to create all-time teamsfor the big three in Athens and PAOK in Thessaloniki.  Thus, I learned much more about Greek football and realised the original team I created in 2017 was inappropriate.  So I redo the entire team. 
-- Antonios Nikopolidis, Mimi Domazos, Stelios Manolas, Theodoros Zagorakis, Giorgos Karagounis and Vassilis Hatzipanagis were probably the greatest ever Greek footballers.  Vassilis Hatzipanagis was considered to be their greatest players.
--The Euro 2004 victory marked the peak of Greek football. Despite being second-least favorite, manager Otto Rehhagel's team pulled off stunning upsets to win the tournament. From the squad, I chose Angelos Basinas, Antonios Nikopolidis, Giourkas Seitaridis, Traianos Dellas, Theodoros Zagorakis, and Giorgos Karagounis. Notably, Angelos Charisteas, a member of the original 2004 team and the Team of the Tournament, was excluded in the 2021 version. Antonios Nikopolidis, Traianos Dellas, Giourkas Seitaridis, Theodoros Zagorakis, and Angelos Charisteas made it to the Team of the Tournament.
-- In the decade after the 2004 victory, Greece qualified for the final tournaments of all but one major competitions entered. Their best results were Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, where they reached the second round.  The two tournaments along with European Championship of 2004 defined Giorgos Karagounis as one of Greece's greatest players.  Sokratis Papastathopoulos was also from that generation.
-- Greece qualified for its first World Cup Finals in 1994.  Stelios Manolas, Ioannis Kalitzakis and Dimitris Saravakos made this all-time team. I attended Greece's first ever World Cup match against Argentina in 1994.  
World Cup 1994
-- Greece under the guidance of Alketas Panagoulias made its first appearance in a major tournament at the Euro 1980.  They managed to draw the eventual winner West Germany. Nikos Anastopoulos, Konstantinos Iosifidis, Thomas Mavros and Giorgos Koudas made honorable mention. 
-- Panathinaikos FC to reach the 1971 European Cup Final before losing to Ajax. The team was led by Ferenc Puskas, who credited for bringing professionalism to Greek football.  Takis Ikonomopoulos, Mimis Domazos and Anthimos Kapsis were on that team.  Centerback Anthimos Kapsis' son was Michalis Kapsis who started as one of the central defenders on the 2004 European Championship winning team.
-- Vassilis Hatzipanagis was the only player who never played for the Big Three clubs in Athens or PAOK.
-- Gazetta Greece created their list of Top 10 Greatest Greek footballers.  Their ranking was as followed: 10) Ilias Rosidis, 9) Theodoros Zagorakis, 8) Mimis Papaioannou, 7) Dimitris Saravakos, 6) Giorgos Sideris, 5) Kostas Nestoridis, 4) Thomas Mavros, 3) Giorgos Koudas, 2) Mimi Domazos and 1) Vassilis Hatzipanagis.
-- The All-Time Dream Team for Greece by IFFHS was as followed:  Takis Ikonomopoulos, Giourkas Seitaridis, Stelios Manolas, Traianos Dellas, Grigoris Georgatos, Georgios Delikaris, Theodoros Zagorakis, Mimis Domazos, Vasilis Hatzipanagis, Dimitris Saravakos and Mimis Papaioannou.
-- The first two choices for goalkeepers were easy : Nikos Sarganis and Antonios Nikopolidis.  Nikopolidis was capped 90 times.  He was an hero at the 2004 European Championship.
-- For the third keeper, I looked into Achilleas Grammatikopoulos, Stelios Serafeidis, Nikos Christidis, and Ilias Atmatsidis.  In the end, I went for Takis Ikonomopoulos as my third keeper.  He played for Panathinaikos at the 1971 European Cup Final. The Final was supposed to the greatest moment in Greek football until the Euro 2004. The IFFHS named him as number one as well.
-- Sokratis Papastathopoulos' club career outside Greece was one of the best ever for Greek players.  He had held on his own in the Bundesliga.  He played for Borussia Dortmund between 2013 and 2018.  He was named as Bundesliga Team of the Season in the 2013-2014 season. Then, I went with Traianos Dellas of Euro 2004 team, and then, Stelios Manolas.  Manolas was often considered Greece's greatest defender and an icon with AEK.  The last central defender was harder to decide.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos
-- At this stage, Kostas Manolas was still in the process of establishing his career, having made a name for himself as a key player for AS Roma and Napoli.  Interestingly, his uncle happens to be Stelios Manola. At the time of writing, he is the most expensive ever Greek footballer. His uncle is Stelios Manola. But I stayed with the an older player Anthimos Kapsis.  Anthimos Kapsis was named several times as one of their greatest defenders. Additionally, the name Avraam Papadopoulos frequently surfaced in discussions.  
-- Ioannis KalitzakisStratos Apostolakis and Nikos Dabizas were on my original team I created in 2017, but I left them off on this edited team. I did not understand how I selected them in 2017.  Nikos Dabizas was solid with Newcastle and he was famous in England as a result, but he was seldom listed among Greece's greatest defenders.
-- Although I selected Vasilis Torosidis over Ilias Rosidis on my Olympiacos All-Time team, I took Rosidis over Torosidis over here.  "Gazzetta" listed Ilias Rosidis as one of top 10 greatest Greek players in 2016.  Torisidis himself was not far behind in terms of credentials.  He played leftback for Greece while rightback for his club team.  But I went with Giourkas Seitaridis for the next rightback. He was the hero of Euro 2004.  He was on the team of the tournament.  
-- On the left side, Konstantinos Iosifidis was probably the undisputed choice.  Then, I selected Grigoris Georgatos who was known as Greece's "Roberto Carlos",  He only had  35 caps because of reported dispute with coach Otto Rehhagel.  I also saw Michalis Kasapis mentioned a few times.  It's important not to confuse him with Michalis Kapsis, who served as a central defender on the Euro 2004 team and was the son of Anthimos Kapsis.
-- RM/CM Giorgos Karagounis is Greece all-time appearance leader followed by Theodoros Zagorakis.  He also captained the team in two World Cup Finals. Both were considered to be the best ever Greek footballers. Angelos Basinas also played on the Euro 2004 team.  He was a key player in the tournament.  Dimitris Saravakos was also often mentioned.  They easily occupied 4 spots.
-- Kostas Eleftherakis was rumored to be a target of Real Madrid.  It did not materialise.  I left him on honorable mention only. Have he play with Real Madrid? I might have more materials to consider him.  I took Basinas over him.
-- Kostas Frantzeskos in his prime was one of the best freekick artists in Europe. But I only put him on honorable mention.
-- I selected Mimis Domazos and Giorgos Koudas over Vassilios Tsiartas. They were all attack midfielders. Tsiartas was a backup at Euro 2004, but he provided a few critical assists. However, In order to diversify the team with players from PAOK, I opted to include Giorgos Koudas. He holds the distinction of being PAOK's greatest player of all time and also served as the captain of the Euro 1980 team. The tournament was Greece's first Finals in a major tournament. Mimis Domazos was considered by many to be one of the best footballers that Greece has ever produced.  Georgios Delikaris (see forward section) could also play as an attack midfielder.  I also could not find a spot for attack midfielder Stavros Sarafis, one of PAOK greatest ever players.
Giorgos Koudas
-- Vasilis Hatzipanagis was ineligible for the Greek national team during his career because he had represented the Soviet Union at the youth level.  However, he did make two appearance in friendly matches for Greece.  Nevertheless, he did manage to make two appearances in friendly matches for Greece. Notably, he was honored by the Greek FA as Greece's UEFA Jubilee Player, an accolade that UEFA accepted, recognizing him as a Greek player.  In the Soviet Union, he was rated as high as Oleg Blokhin.
-- I had one spot left at the end of the selection.  Vassilios Tsiartas was probably the best player not selected.   However, as mentioned, I had too many attack midfielders.  The 23rd player should be a central midfielder or a winger. The player pool included Kostas Katsouranis, Takis Loukanidis and right winger Stelios Giannakopoulos. Stelios Giannakopoulos was known to be one of the best Greek players ever to have played in the Premiership.  He was probably Bolton Wanderers' best players during his 5 seasons there. In the end, I chose Takis Loukanidis for my team. According to various Greek sources, he has been referred to as the "most versatile Greek player" ever. Interestingly, although he initially started as a goalkeeper, he displayed remarkable skills across the entire field. However, Takis Loukanidis was a controversial figure during his time. In 1962, he became involved in a relationship with a 14-year-old girl, which led to legal issues. He was charged with rape but later cleared. They briefly married before their relationship ended in a tumultuous divorce court case. Additionally, he faced another high-profile court case after getting into a fight with a police officer. In 1965, he met his future wife, Anne, but her family disapproved of their relationship. They decided to elope to South Africa, where he also pursued his football career. Tragically, his father was killed by Bulgarians, and he grew up as an orphan. Furthermore, he experienced the loss of his own son in 1998.
-- Georgios Delikaris is one of the greatest Greek footballers of all time, coming in fourth in the Greek vote for the UEFA Jubilee Awards, first amongst former Olympiacos players.  Thomas Marvos was the Greek championship all-time top goalscorer with 260 goals in 501 matches.   He was AEK's greatest footballer.  They were all big names in Greek football. 
-- Nikos Anastopoulos is Greece's all-time leading scorer.  He was a legend in Olympiakos.  
Nikos Anastopoulos
-- Mimis Papaioannou and Kostas Nestoridis formed a lethal attack lin AEK Athens.  Nestoridis won 5 straight scoring titles in the 1960's.  The pair scored 39 goals together as they won the 1962-1963 League Title with a better goal difference than Panathaikos who finished level on points that season. Nestoridis only made honorable mention.
-- Mimis Papaioannou was awarded as the best Greek footballer of the 20th Century by IFFHS. For some strange reasons, I did not select him in 2017.  In 2021, I dropped Angelos Charisteas for him. 
-- Angelos Charisteas scored 3 goals at Euro 2004, including the winning goal against Portugal.  In total, he had 25 goals for Greece, the second all-time highest.  However, his club goal scoring was extremely poor.  He  played for many clubs in Europe, but he eldom scored more than 10 goals per season.  He never repeated the same successes as compared to what he did in 2004.  I felt that his career outside Euro 2004 was not as strong as others selected.
-- Striker Antonis Antoniadis only played 21 times for Greece, but his role with Panathinaikos in the 1971 European Cup put Greek football on the map. He was the leading scorer in the tournament with 10 goals. Unfortunately, I can only put him on honorable mention.  Stelios Giannakopoulos also only made honorable mention.  He was mentioned a few times.  His career in the Premiership made him a more famous name than most other Greek footballers, but I stayed with the older players.
-- Giorgos Sideris was the first Greek player to play overseas. He spent a season with Belgium's Royal Antwerp FC.
-- Theofanis Gekas was Bundesliga top scorer in the 2006 and 2007 season. He played in two European Championship and World Cup Finals.  He is Greece's third highest scorer. However, he did not really stand up among the Greek forwards.
Greece 2004
Greece also used a 4-3-3 formation to win the European Championship, but this team would be more attack-minded.

No comments:

Post a Comment