When I think about Greek football, the first thing that comes thing that comes to my mind is the triumphant Greek campaign in Euro 2004. It all started when an Angelos Basinas penalty was enough to earn a shock win over the hosts, Portugal, in the opening fixture but it was followed by a draw with Spain and a narrow loss to Russia which was still enough to send the Greeks to the knockout round where the real business begins.
People started taking them a bit more seriously when Angelos Charisteas scored the only goal that knocked the defending champions, France, out of the tournament. Traianos Dellas scored the only goal against the Czech Republic in the semis, while Charisteas made history with the goal that defeated Portugal in the finals and won the tournament for the Greeks. Otto Renhagel became a legend in the nation and Greeks were the sweethearts of the football world.
Following their success in Euro 2004, as well as a 14th place position in the FIFA World Rankings, many neutrals were shocked as Greece failed to make it to make it to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. However, they came into Euro 2008 as the defending champions with some expectations from their fans and the world at large but they failed woefully as they crashed out of the tournament in the group stages, losing all three games. Their 2010 World Cup campaign also ended in heartache, failing to qualify from a group that had Argentina, South Korea and my Nigeria. They did muster a win against Nigeria though. Thanks a lot, Sani Kaita. The Greeks did better in Euro 2012, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Germany. In more recent times, Greek football has been on the decline, and their playoff loss to Croatia ended their hopes of featuring in the great spectacle at Russia.
Enough about Greek football already, it’s time to focus on our new signing, Mavropanos. It was confirmed on the official site that Mavropanos has joined that Gunners from Greek SuperLeague outfit. PAS Giannina. I obviously don’t know much about the lad aside from the fact that he’s 20 years old and 6′ 4″. I also know that he wouldn’t be thrust into first team action, with a potential move to Werder Bremen in the works.
With Per Mertesacker leaving at the end of the season to resume his Academy Head role, Laurent Koscielny getting towards his twilight and struggling for form and fitness, Nacho Monreal’s fitness concerns and aging coming into play, it makes a lot of sense to recruit a towering defender with something to prove. Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers are certainly the defenders on the spotlight but I believe that Sven Mislintat has began his job in earnest, as the Gunners aim to revamp their scouting system.
I don’t really follow the Bundesliga regularly and I don’t expect Mavropanos to walk straight into the first team ahead of the likes of club captain, Nicklas Moisander and his center back partner, Milos Veljkovic in the Bremen starting XI but I’m pretty sure he would get some opportunities, especially with the team struggling in the German league this season.
I wish the lad the very best and hope to see him in coming seasons.
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