Greece national team coach Michael Skibbe claims that Saudi Arabia will undergo a difficult World Cup 2018 campaign. Saudi Arabia were able to claim a 2-0 victory over Greece in a recent friendly match between the two teams. After the appointment of Juan Antonio Pizzi, Saudi Arabia seem to have made a lot of strides that hold them in good stead going into the World Cup 2018. The opening match of the tournament will witness Saudi Arabia taking on hosts Russia on June 14.
Greece was able to end a run of three consecutive matches without a victory by beating Egypt 1-0 in a friendly match. This was the first victory for Greece since October. Michael Skibbe was quite happy with the manner of the performance, while Nicholas Karelis scored the only goal of the game in the 29th minute. The 2004 European champions had a lot of pressure coming into the game, as they had poor form for the last few months. This would not be a good sign as they have already missed out on World Cup 2018 participation.
Greek football is all set to resume from this week after being absent from action for the last three weeks. All forms of Greek top-flight football were left suspended after a club owner carried a pistol to challenge the referee in a recent match. PAOK owner came onto the pitch with a gun to his belt. This forced the Greek football authorities to suspend the league from March 12.
The future of football in Greece has been quite bleak due to several political and financial crisis that had hit the country. However, Stelios Giannakopoulos believes that there could be a brighter future for football in his country. Stelios who had ended his playing career back in 2010, worked as head of the Greek PFA. During that period, he was also working on getting his coaching badges.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has decided against the loan exit of Konstantinos Mavropanos after he made a huge impression on his first training session. The Greece youth international joined the Gunners from PAS Giannina for £2.2m earlier this month, and Wenger initially suggested that the centre-back was not ready to handle the rigours of the Premier League.
However, the French tactician made a surprise decision to place Mavropanos on the bench for Wednesday's goalless versus Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final, and he has opted to keep him at the Emirates for the campaign, he said: "I personally want to keep him until May. The first signs have been so encouraging so we will keep him until May [the end of the season]."
Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo has revealed that his side's 0-0 Champions League draw versus Olympiacos felt more like a defeat. The Catalan giants failed to score for the first time in a Champions League group stage game in five years after they were held by the Greek champions at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
Speaking to BeIN Sport, the Portugal international described how sharing the spoils felt like a defeat for the Spanish outfit, he said: "This feels like a defeat for us. Obviously you can see from our performance we tried to score goals and even though we got a point it feels worse, but we can only keep working. We are not focused on results in other games, we concentrate on our own position and what we can do within the group."
Greece national team coach Michael Skibbe is disappointed with FIFA deciding to ban Kostas Manolas from the World Cup qualification game against Croatia. The Roma defender has been suspended on grounds that he has been intentionally seeking a yellow card in order to avoid suspension in a crucial match. However, Skibbe has decided to disagree with this decision and the claims that the one match suspension for the defender is not for an illegitimate reason. Kostas Manolas picked up a yellow card for time wasting in the recent 2-1 victory over Cyprus. However, the aspect of time wasting is a common situation when the team has a slender advantage like in the case of Greece.
Yet, FIFA decided to punish the defender even though he had already sat out of the final group match against Gibraltar. This was a meaningless game with Greece managing a comfortable 4-0 victory as expected. However, FIFA felt that Kostas Manolas was deliberately looking to avoid this game in the hope of being ready for the game against Croatia, which has far more greater implications with regard to qualification to the World Cup 2018. Skibbe says that it was natural for the player to attempt to waste some time in order to seal the game against Cyprus. He felt that there was no need for an extra suspension.
As each edition of the FIFA World Cup rolls by and each host country goes through the necessary preparations, it seems like the budget that is needed in order to successfully run this kind of event goes higher as more cash is needed.
More and better stadiums have to be built to contain the growing list of fans and supporters, newer technology on the actual pitch is being implemented as well as off the pitch.
During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it’s estimated that the total cost of expenses from the host country, Brazil was in the region of 14$ billion which was more than double of the 2010 edition which had a total cost of around 6$ billion.
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed that he got his own back on the Greece fans through his goal celebration in Sunday's World Cup qualifier.
The 24-year-old struck the winning goal in the 2-1 triumph over Greeks as Roberto Martinez's side became the first nation from Europe to guarantee their place in next summer's finals in Russia.
It’s no longer news that the Euro 2016 was an epic tale of anguish, failure and disappointment for the big names in Europe as an obscure team, which found it difficult acing their games both at the group stages and the knockout phase came out of obscurity against all prevailing odds to lift the most prestigious trophy in all of Europe to the amazement of all eyes.
Portugal were the winners of Euro 2016 – as unsuspecting as it may seem they got the job done, which speaks more of their resilience and fighting spirit even when not given a chance to succeed, as their skipper and star forward Cristiano Ronaldo was stretchered out midway into the first half.