The Greek National Football Team suffered a 1-0 defeat to Finland, which unfortunately leaves Greece all but out of the Euro 2020 finals.
Greece’s new Dutch coach, John van’t Schip made several changes to the team (in his debut match) that Angelos Anastasiadis had fielded last June against Italy and Armenia. However the net result was the same. Despite holding the ball for long spells, the Greeks were unable to create clear scoring chances as they lost for the third time in succession.
Greece are now left with four points from five games, while leaders Italy have 15 and Finland are on 12. The top two advance and there are just five games left to play – the first of those for Greece comes on Sunday against Liechtenstein in Athens.
Robin Lod missed Finland’s first chance after 27 minutes, as the Greek midfield enjoyed plenty of possession in a bid to contain the creativity and enthusiasm of the hosts.
Greece responded with a good volley by Efthymis Koulouris three minutes on, but both that and a Giorgos Masouras shot in the 38th minute missed the target.
Finland turned up the pressure after the interval and earned a penalty in the 51st minute after a reckless tackle by Dimitris Kourbelis. Norwich City marksman Pukki converted it clinically, sending AEK goalkeeper Vassilis Barkas the wrong way.
The introduction of youngster Vangelis Pavilids in the last 15 minutes of the game livened up the Greek attack, but the visitors hardly ever threatened the home goal in the second half.
FINLAND: 1 Hradecky (GK), 2 Arajuuri, 4 Toivio, 6 Kamara, 8 Lod, 10 Pukki, 13, Soiri, 14 Sparv, 18 Uronen, 20 Tuominen, 22 Raitala.
GREECE: 13 Barkas (GK), 3 Stafylidis, 4 Manolas, 6 Bouchalakis, 9 Koulouris, 14 Vrousai, 15 Torosidis, 16 Masouras, 17 Kolovos, 19 Papastathopoulos, 21 Kourbelis.
Group J standings after five rounds:
Italy, 15 points
Finland, 12 points
Bosnia, 7 points
Armenia, 6 points
Greece, 4 points
Liechtenstein, 0 points
*Image Source: Greek National