SPORTS

Toothless Greece gives in to Switzerland in friendly

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

Greece suffered a 1-0 friendly loss to Switzerland on Friday in its first match for 2018, going down at the Olympic Stadium of Athens to a team that will feature in this summer’s World Cup.

Greece manager Michael Skibbe fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation with three attacking midfielders behind lone striker Costas Mitroglou, to take advantage of the runs by Tassos Donis and Tassos Bakasetas that delighted the near-empty terraces.

However with just three shots overall and none on goal, Skibbe should be particularly worried about the creation aspect of the national team’s game.

Greece had a couple of good chances in the first half, with Costas Fortounis and Mitroglou who failed to find the target, but the best moment of the first 45 minutes fell to Breel Embolo who capitalized on an error of judgment by Sokratis Papastathopoulos to swing inside the box and hit the outside of the upright three minutes from halftime.

Then 14 minutes into the second half Blerim Dzemaili scored a spectacular goal with a sideways bicycle kick to give the Swiss the lead, as the Greek defense proved unable to cope with the visitors’ pressure.

After a series of Swiss chances for a second goal, Fortounis missed Greece’s sole opportunity after the interval, as the national team did little in the way of threatening the visitors’ goal.

Up next Greece will face Egypt in Switzerland on Tuesday, in another friendly.

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