Greece suffered a humiliating 3-2 home defeat to Armenia, a team that had never before beaten the Euro 2004 champions, and will require a miracle to qualify to the finals of Euro 2020. What Greece needs this summer is a restart, probably with a new manager.
Three days after the terrible showing against Italy and the 3-0 home loss, the defensive frailties of the national team were exposed once again at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, only this time by Armenia, a decent team that knew what it wanted to do on the field and tried hard to obtain it, i.e. the very features Greece did not possess.
Coach Angelos Anastasiadis opted for an extensively changed line-up, hoping to freshen up the team with his five changes, given also that this was the end of a long season. This led to Roma defender Costas Manolas staying on the bench and to the best Greece player against Italy, keeper Vassilis Barkas, being replaced by Odysseas Vlachodimos.
However it appeared that even the players who were brought in also had their minds set on their upcoming holidays, with Armenia doing exactly what Italy, Turkey and Bosnia had done before it: The visitors put a little pressure on the Greek defense that easily cracked and conceded two first-half goals to Aleksandre Karapetyan and Gevorg Ghazaryan.
The second half started quite better for the Greeks, who pulled a goal back on the 54th with Zeca, but Tigran Barseghyan restored Armenia’s two-goal cushion making it 3-1 20 minutes on. Armenia had never even scored against Greece before.
Costas Fortounis’s goal three minutes from the end was mere consolation for the inconsolable and visibly angry Greece fans who booed the players off the pitch, while the 100 traveling fans had their own party, their tops off, at the stands of the Olympic Stadium.
Greece is left with four points from as many games; barring a huge upset, that would be a victory in Finland in September, the national team is set to sit out one more major tournament the following summer.
The blame the players must shoulder is considerable, but there is no doubt this team bears the stamp of Anastasiadis, who has to be replaced immediately.