Saturday, December 23, 2017

Greece Greatest All-Time Team


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

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

Greece first qualified for a major tournament at the Euro 1980.  Fourteen years later, they went undefeated in the World Cup qualifying rounds in 1994, but had a poor WC Finals in the US. Then, in 2004, they went into Euro 2004 as the second least favorite to win the tournament.  They pulled upset after upset.  They won the tournament as the biggest surprise in football history.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.
Euro 2004
Team 
GK: Antonios Nikopolidis 
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.  He played with both Olympiakos and Panathinaikos. 
Antonios Nikopolidis 
GK: Takis Ikonomopoulos
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.  Capped 25 times.

GK: Nikos Sarganis
In 1980, Nikos Sarganis shocked Greek football by leading Kastoria to victory in the Greek Cup.  He joined Olympiakos in 1980 and he left his 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.

CB/RB: Giourkas Seitaridis 
Giourkas Seitaridis was part of their team which won Euro 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 an Euro 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 
DM/RB: Stratos Apostolakis 
In 1990, he caused controversy in Greece by transferring from Olympiakos to Panathinaikos.  He was one of the key players behind Panathinaikos' European runs in 1992 and 1996. He was one of the best defenders his country has ever seen. He could also play as a defensive midfielder. He had 96 caps, at one point a record for Greece.  He played in USA 1994.

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'.  He played for many clubs.  In Greece, he was associated with AEK Athens.

Stelios Manolas was capped 71 times by Greece, as well as being one of only a few Greek footballers to have played his entire professional career for a single club - AEK Athens FC, where he won 4 league titles. He was considered the greatest Greek defender ever.  He played at the World Cup Finals in 1994.

SW/CB: Ioannis Kalitzakis
Ioannis Kalitzakis started his career in Panelefsiniakos F.C., where he played three and a half season before eventually joining Panathinaikos FC. Panathinaikos's fans nicknamed him "ninja".  In 1997, he joined AEK Athens FC.  Kalitzakis had 71 caps in total between 1987 and 1998, including three appearances at the 1994 World Cup.

CB: Nikos Dabizas
Dabizas started in the lower division with Pontioi Veria. In 1994, he joined Olympiakos from third division. He later played for Newcastle United, Leicester City and AEL. He had 71 caps. He went to Portugal for European Campionship in 2004, but did not play due an injury as Greece won the tournament.
Konstantinos Iosifidis spent his entire career with a single club. 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.  He participated in UEFA European Championship in 1980.

Grigoris Georgatos spent most of his career with Olympiakos, but also played in Italy for Inter Milan and 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 play in Euro 2004.

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 POK 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 
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.

CM:  Giorgos Karagounis 
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 served as the captain. He played for Panathinaikos, Apollon Smyrni, Inter Milan, Benfica and Fulham. He retired after the World Cuo Finals in 2014.
Giorgos Karagounis 
LW/FW: Thomas Mavros
Mavros started with  Panionios in 1970.  He later played with AEK Athens. He was known as one of AEK Athens greatest players. Their fans called him "the God". 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 and went to Euro 1980 in Italy.

LW: Vassilis Hatzipanagis
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
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, captaining the team at Euro 1980 in Italy. The tournament was Greece's first ever international tournament.

AM: Mimis Domazos 
Mimis Domazos is considered to be one of the greatest Greek footballers. He helped Panathinaikos FC to reach the European Cup Final. 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 football, having played for more than 21 years.

FW: Dimitris Saravakos 
Dimitris Saravakos started with Panionios. In 1984,  he moved to Panathinaikos FC, where he became a star.  He also had a highly successful stints with AEK Athens between his two spells with Panathinaikos FC.  Saravakos had 78 caps.  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: Georgios Delikaris
Nicknamed the "Gianni Rivera of Greece", Georgios Delikaris is considered to be one of Olympiakos' greatest players.  However, he also left the club for arch rival Panathinaikos in 1978.  However, he never settled down there and was never accepted by their fans. After retirement, he remained a mysterious figure, hiding from the spotlight. 

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.

Angelos Charisteas was capped 88 times by Greece, scoring 25 goals. He was a member of the UEFA Euro 2004 winning team, scoring three goals, including the winning goal in the final against Portugal. He also represented Greece in Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.  At club level he has played for Aris Thessaloniki, Werder Bremen, Ajax, Feyenoord, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke 04, Arles-Avignon and Al Nassr.
Angelos Charisteas 
ST/FW: Nikos Anastopoulos
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 was most prominently played professionally for Olympiakos where he won 4 league titles and considered one of their greatest players. He won the Bronze Boot as the third highest scorer in Europe in the 1982–83 season.
Nikos Anastopoulos

Honorable Mention  
Andreas Papaemmanouil, Elias Atmatsidis, Antonis Minou, Mimis Papaioannou, Antonis Antoniadis, Giorgos Koudas, Vassilios Tsiartas.

Squad Explanation
 -- Vasilis Hatzipanagis was ineligible for the Greek national team.  However, he did make two appearance in friendly matches.  He did represent Greece making him "eligible" for this team.  Besides, he was selected by Greek FA as Greece's UEFA Jubilee Player. 
-- The first two choices for goalkeepers were easy: Nikos Sarganis and Antonios Nikopolidis.  I looked into Antonis Minou and Elias Atmatsidis, but I went for an older keeper for the third option: Takis Ikonomopoulos.
-- Antonis Antoniadis' role with Panathinaikos in the 1971 European Cup put Greek football on the map, but I have no place for him. 
-- I selected Mimis Domazos and Giorgos Koudas over Vassilios Tsiartas. Tsiartas was a backup at Euro 2004, but he provided a few critical assists. However, I gave the spot to Koudas because I want to spread the team with players from PAOK. He was also the captain of the Euro 1980 team.  The tournament was Greece's Finals in a major tournament.
-- Angelos Charisteas, Angelos Basinas, Antonios Nikopolidis, Giourkas Seitaridis, Traianos Dellas, Theodoros Zagorakis, Giorgos Karagounis and Angelos Basinas were on the Euro 2004 team.




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