Gyros and palinka – Greece (Home) Preview

The final game in my Sh’t Football Weekend sees my jet back (on a coach) to Budapest from Prague just in time to see the visit of Greece to the Ulloi uti stadion.  Last Sunday at the same stadium was something of a day to forget and as such I have not had much desire to follow what has been going on.  However, ignorance has not stopped me pretending I know what on Earth I am talking about so here we go.

 DSC_0426

ME.  Narcissist.

Greece

A country that has given us gyros, Plato, an endless supply of low quality plates to be smashed, modern politics and Elgin’s Marbles (you can have those back) is in a bit of a terrible state at the minute.  Ruthlessly crushed (rightly or wrongly) economically by the German machine, things went from bad to worse for the football fans of the nation as Greece have lost thrice at home to Romania, Northern Ireland and (cough, cough) the Faroe Islands.  A draw in Helsinki is all they have managed so far and they sit bottom of a group they would have fancied themselves to top.

 DSC_0148

ME. Drinking.

Sergio Makarian (Uruguayan of Armenian descent (?)) took over after the Faroe shock and will seek to lead a Greek resurgence from the tragedy ( I had to) of a position they find themselves in.  A couple of wins and they can easily start chasing down a playoff spot.  A win in Budapest would close the gap to third to four points with both Hungary and Finland still to go to Athens.  Alas, Kostas Mitroglou who has been on fire for Olympiakos this year (13 in 19) will miss out through injury.

Impossible for me to pick a possible/probable starting XI.  I do know that the team will be fired up to avenge their defeat against the Faroers knowing that this campaign is far from over.

Hungary

 A big game for Hungary.  Simply put, a victory here will knock Greece out of contention (all but mathematically) and at the very least leave a two-way fight with Finland for third and the play-off spot (and possibly more depending on the form of Romania and N. Ireland in the coming months).  Dardai Pal is back after being persuaded by his son to return because ‘they would lose without you’ and in the meantime has also been appointed fulltime coach of Hertha guiding them to relative safety after four wins on the trot.

 DSC_0036

In terms of team news, Lovrencsics misses out due to injury and Dzsudzsak has a very minor knock but will be fit to start, but Dardai will have a full array of ‘stars’ to select from.

Kiraly ‘the grey pajama clown’ Gabor, Bogdan Adam and Dibusz Denes make up the three goalkeeping positions.  No Hegedus again.  Imagine Dardai will start Kiraly so that he can see out 100 caps and retire as soon as possible (although Bozsik Jozsef played 101 games for Hungary so he may want to surpass that).

A few unfamiliar faces for an NB1 follower such as myself make up the defenders in the squad.  Juhasz Roland has to start (although he has been missing for Vidi in recent weeks) as Hungary’s best defender and partnered by Kadar Tamas.  Fiola ‘not Italian’ Attila will probably start at right back (given Poor Patrick’s lack of a call-up following injury problems),  At left back, it will be wither Lang Adam or Leandro de Almeida (solid Hungarian/probably be booed by Fradi fans).  Elek Akos and Tozser will shield the defence (same as last time out against Finland).

I would say Nikolic deserves a start up top given his impressive season-long form at Champions-elect, Videoton, ably supported by Gera ‘how old?’ Zoli, Simon Krisztian and, heroic paraszt (Hungarian word, which you can google yourself) Dzsudzsak Balazs.

DSC_0620 Gera under a pile-on after Hungary scored v. Finland

This is hardly a team to strike fear into an opposition.  I would prefer that Stieber Zoltan or Koman Vladimir started in place of Gera; however, after his winner against Suomi and general status as the almighty of contemporary Hungarian football, Gera will probably start.

Prediction

Neither team is capable of blowing the other away.  We could see a horribly cagey affair where both teams sit back and try to pick the other on the counter.  I would put pretty strong money on this one going in goalless at halftime with one side or the other sneaking it from a set play in the final quarter.  A draw is not going to be much good for either team.

DSC_0625 Will Hungary be celebrating again?

I think it will be a binary score; 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 1-1.  So throwing my head out of the window like a dog (totally made up expression), I predict Greece to win 0-1.  Nevertheless, hajra Magyarok, a win keeps them in the campaign until Romania come to town in September.

Points of interest

I have booked tickets right, right next to the Greeks.  Having been in the away end last week, I now realise quite how next to the Greeks I will be.  There will be a thin sheet of plexiglass separating me from a flare wielding, deficit ridden, ouzo sodden Greek man.  Scared, moi (that is French for me)?!  How do I say Germans are the root cause of all Greece’s problems in Modern Greek (classical Greek might also work)?

 

Group standings

Teams

P

W

D

L

F

A

+/-

Pts

Romania Romania

4

3

1

0

6

1

5

10

Northern Ireland Northern Ireland

4

3

0

1

6

3

3

9

Hungary Hungary

4

2

1

1

4

3

1

7

Finland Finland

4

1

1

2

4

5

-1

4

Faroe Islands Faroe Islands

4

1

0

3

2

6

-4

3

Greece Greece

4

0

1

3

1

5

-4

1

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