Greece’s next assignments see them face off in a friendly with New Zealand before their final Euros qualifier against France, with the “Ethniki” utilising both games as preparation ahead of their effort to make the 2024 Euros via the play-offs.
Direct qualification to the tournament in Germany next year is now an incredibly unlikely proposition for the “blue-whites”, meaning they have to go to plan B which is making it through the play-offs.
Greece’s next two fixtures will serve an important role in getting them ready for this, starting off with a friendly against New Zealand in Athens at 4 am on Saturday (AEDT).
Following this, the “Ethniki” wrap up the Euros qualifying group stage with a match against France that is also in Athens on Wednesday at 6.45 a.m.
Greece manager Gus Poyet has given plenty of chances out to various players, calling up 32 players in total for the two clashes to experiment with the squad.=
Speaking to media on Monday, the coach stressed the importance of the two games in getting them ready for the play-offs in March while highlighting the France fixture as another chance to challenge themselves against one of the better sides in world football.
“We have to prepare for the play-offs in March. We will use the match against France as a test to see how we can stand against better teams,” Mr Poyet said.
Greece will likely go into the Path C section of the Euros play-offs, qualifying due to winning their group in the previous Nations League, and participate in a mini-tournament in March that awards the winner with a spot at the European Championships next year.
As things currently stand, the nations that will join them include Georgia, Kazakhstan and Luxembourg, with the four sides split up into two different semi-finals.
The winners of the semi-finals will meet up in a final that decides who ultimately grabs the spot at the Euros.
While all three countries have quality, particularly Georgia with Napoli star forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia leading their frontline, Greece will certainly rate their chances as long as they maintain the same standard they have played at under Poyet’s leadership.