The Greek national team improved on its draw with the world number 1 ranked Belgian team last Thursday with a 2-1 victory over Norway at Malaga, Spain on Saturday. It was the second match within three days and it was ideal preparation for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers that resume in September.
Greece’s head coach John van ‘t Schip saw much to enjoy in the Greek team, especially in the first half when the players kept good posssion and circulated the ball well deny the ball to the dangerous Norwegian wunderkid Erling Haaland.
The Greeks impressed with their movement with and without the ball in an impressive first half showing of counter attacking football.
Ethniki’s manager started with a 3-5-2 formation without a pure striker at the front but this allowed the team greater flexibility to successfully unsettle Norwegian manager Ståle Solbakken’s plans.
There was a lot of movement in the Greek attack with the midfield and backline doing a great job.
In the 13th minute of the game, Dimtiris Pelkas’ beautifully weighted pass behind the Norwegian defence played in midfielder Giorgos Masouras who opened the scoring. It was Massouras’ second goal for the “sky blues and white”.
Eight minutes later, Massouras’ Olympiakos teammate Thanasis Androutsos scored his maiden goal in his third appearance for the national team.
In the second, half despite a number of substitutions, the Greek team lost the momentum it had enjoyed in the first 45 minutes as the Norwegians sought to roll back the score.
However, while the Norwegians dominated possession, they could not impose themselves on the game. The Norwegian goal came in the 64th minute when Stefan Strandberg headed past Alexandros Tziolis from a corner. It was the only threat on the Greek goal in a second half that was largely spent in containing the threat posed by Dortmund’s much sought-after star Erling Haland.
Greece’s next friendly will be against Switzerland on 2 September. Their next world cup qualifier will be against Kosovo on 6 September.