Greece vs Finland
Competition: UEFA Nations League
Date: 15 November 2018
Kick-off: 20:45 CET
Many people’s reaction in Greece when it was announced that Michael Skibbe was getting fired, was “that’s not news; news is he stayed in charge that long”. Greece did ok in the World Cup qualifiers, finished second in the group behind Belgium, and got eliminated in the play-offs by Croatia. You all know how Belgium and Croatia did in the World Cup finals. With this in mind, you can’t really blame them for not being in Russia last summer. On the other hand, their football was poor, even in games they won. Especially in the Nations League, they have been incredibly poor, excluding short parts of a couple of games, when they tried to… play football. They do have the players to produce something, not just defend, by Skibbe looked… determined to keep his own team… castrated (offensively). His successor, Anghelos Anastasiadis, is a… “particular” character. Deeply religious, he often mentions Virgin Mary(!) in his Press conferences. A former PAOK coach (he has been very successful there), he’s the kind of tactician who allows his players to take initiatives, doesn’t dictate every single move of theirs, which seemed to be the case with Skibbe. Bottom line, given that he took charge just a few days ago, I don’t expect Greece to start scoring 2-3 goals in every game right away, but once the Euro qualifiers start, and he has been given more time to work with the team, I can see them play their part in producing some… wild scores, the way all his teams have done in the past, with big wins registered, but also heavy losses.
After beating Greece at home, 2-0, last month, Finland are… one step away from finishing first in the group. They are six points ahead of second-placed Greece, and, I repeat, they have beaten them not 1-0, but 2-0, already. On Sunday, Greece are hosting Estonia, and Finland are playing in Budapest, against Hungary. They need one point from their last two matches to secure the top spot. They are… ok even with losing both games, as long as they lose by only one goal to Greece. They are ok even with losing by two goals in Greece, as long as they score. If this game ends 2-0 for the Greeks, even then, Finland will be favorites to finish first, because of the overall goal difference in the group, between them and Greece.
Previous five matches:
Finland vs Greece 2-0
Greece vs Hungary 1-0
Hungary vs Greece 2-1
Estonia vs Greece 0-1
Saudi Arabia vs Greece 2-0
Finland vs Greece 2-0
Estonia vs Finland 0-1
Finland vs Estonia 1-0
Finland vs Hungary 1-0
Finland vs Belarus 2-0
Greece’s next game is on Sunday, again at home, versus Estonia. Same day, Finland will be visiting Hungary (both Nations League matches).
Greece vs Finland: Head to head Stats
Greece have hosted Finland seven times in the past, and have won six of those matches. The Finns have celebrated a win on Greek soil, a 0-1 in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Total goals, 19-4 for the Greeks.
Greece vs Finland: Prediction
I really expect Greece to win this game, partly because of their new coach, the… new air he’s bringing. He’s Greek, he speaks the players’ language, and he’s famous for being a master on the psychological part when preparing a game. He’s been in charge just for a few days, but the players know him, and right now, what Greece mostly need, is not some… sophisticated tactical plan, but self-confidence, and Anastasiadis is the kind of guy who can pump a player’s self-confidence in a matter of minutes.
Greece vs Finland: Betting Tips
Greece’s win, at 2.10, is my only tip (as their double chance is not paying more than 1.22). I’m leaving goals out, even though Greece are obliged to score at least twice to keep having some chances of winning the group.