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Posted by George Tsitsonis on 06/22/2010

Here we are, hours before the match against Argentina. It’s no surprise that just about anywhere you go and read about this match, a demolition job is expected. And to be fair, it could happen. This is an Argentina side with a real swagger, one whose talent could see them lift the World Cup if they avoid the self-destruction of tournament’s past.

But, this has been a World Cup where the seemingly impossible or difficult has happened or is on the verge of happening. France possibly missing out on the next round may have been partially expected, however there was no way most thought that England, Italy, Germany, and Spain would have to wait until their third and final match to find out whether they would qualify or not.

Team News

As I have stated before, it’s almost useless to try and read Otto Rehhagel as sometimes he pulls an “OTTO” and offers up a starting eleven that hasn’t been worked on at all in training. The German fits into various German stereotypes of being efficient and calm with his emotions for the most part, however he is also quite erratic with team selection at times.

Against Argentina, logic says we will set up in a similar formation to the match against Nigeria. Tzorvas should be between the posts, Vyntra as the right back, Torosidis as the left back, with Papadopoulos as the libero of a three-man central defense with Kyrgiakos and Papastathopoulos in front of him. In the midfield we should see Tziolis and Katsouranis as the holding midfielders with Karagounis on the left and then Salpingidis on the right of the front line and Gekas as the central striker.

This is very tentative and in all actuality don’t be surprised at all if things change. Some reports suggest that Moras will come into the central defense and that Papastathopoulos will push up into a defensive midfield position where he will attempt to mark Messi.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Gekas were kept out by Rehhagel to start in favor of Samaras, with Karagounis on the left and Papastathopoulos as Messi’s shadow.

Again all speculation, however after his terrible first match, the indications are that Rehhagel has gained a semblance of reality and is now only putting forth line-ups that are tried and trusted and not new and risky. On his day, Rehhagel is a master tactician who can perfectly set-up his team against even the very best.

Argentina meanwhile will make a few changes to their starting eleven. Messi will play, which is extremely disappointing from a Greek perspective and he will also have help with Milito and Aguero. Does any other group of attacking players strike fear into the heart of a team like Argentina? Look at the names, Messi, Higuain, Milito, Aguero, Tevez, Di Maria just to name a few.

In my opinion, no other side in the world is blessed with such attacking riches. Elsewhere on the pitch, the team aren’t bad either. There is a sense though that if you can disrupt their rhythm and put some sort of pressure on their backline that you can get at this team. That is however a huge ask for Greece.

Onira Trela, Kano Mes Sth Zoi Polla

There is a famous Greek song that has the line above which translates to “Crazy dreams, in life I do many”. This perfectly encapsulates my feelings and perhaps those of other Greek fans. Beating Argentina is a crazy dream, qualifying for the second round is a crazy dream, however that is the the joy of football.

Greece have given us a reason to dream with that performance against Nigeria and the reward for us is now a “World Cup Final” against Argentina. Regardless of what happens we are proud of the lads. They have given the entire nation, and all Greeks around the world a reason to smile especially in the midst of a difficult period for Greeks.

They have also shown that when your back is up against the wall you can decide to give up or rise up and fight. I am convinced that the comeback against Nigeria was one of the most important moments in Greek sporting history. It showed that this team have a backbone and that there is potential for Greece to do great things in the future, even in situations when so much is against them.

The Game of Their Lives

Quite simply, today the players will have to outdo themselves in order to win or even draw. Anything is possible in football and Greece have shown that in the past. This is a team that has made it’s name over the years in defying the odds, in performing at their best when everyone was expecting the worst. The Greek players will have to play the game of their lives to defeat Argentina that is certain.

There is a gap in skill and talent and most of all football history. Argentina have been here so often and this is just another match for them. However passion, pride, and clear thinking, playing the football that we know along with a little (a lot?) luck could just bridge that gap and produce something magical.

In a few short hours we will know what will happen. For now I will dream a crazy dream, one where I take my flag out into the street with my wife, daughter, mom, dad, sister and entire family after watching the game. The joy of our victory will give us moments that we will never forget. That’s my crazy dream and I have faith in the boys that they will give it to me. Aide paidia, oloi mazi gia to thauma!! C’mon lads, all together for a miracle!!!!


Posted by Pavlos on 06/22/2010

Hi George,

I have enjoyed your posts vgery much and I feel you capture the feelings of most loyal Peiratiko fans.

Just one thing - you picked a 12 man team in this blog, which even the trelogermanos could not pick.

Pame gera Ellas

Posted by George on 06/22/2010

Thanks Pavlo!!!!!!

I fixed that mistake, perhaps we need 12 to beat Argentina!?!?! hehe

All the best my friend and thanks for seeing that!

Posted by Athanasios on 06/23/2010

Another great blog Giorgio. Ellas fought Argentina. If only Samaras had knocked in that shot . . . .

Posted by Kaltses on 06/23/2010

Whoever wrote the match report and headline "Negative Greece bow out", for Greece vs Argentina on the World Cup Home site should be shot, especially the "Greece verdict" and "Could do better: Otto Rehhagel" parts.

Parts of it were totally incorrect and downright insulting.

This person clearly knows nothing about the sport and obviously nothing about the Greek national team.

Absolute tosser!

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