Greece will be making their third appearance at a FIFA World Cup™. Nicknamed The Pilattes Ship, the Greeks first appeared at the 1994 edition in the United States of America. In 2014, the Mediterranean nation finds itself in Group C alongside Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan.
The Southern Europeans seem to have walked a rather comfortable journey to the FIFA World Cup™ in their qualifications although they went through the discomfort of a play-off clash in order to make it the tournament. Although their 25 points from ten games would have been sufficient enough ordinarily, they were forced into the play-offs owing to an inferior goal difference to eventual qualification group winners Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the play-offs, the Hellenic Republic took on Romania. In the first leg in Athens a Kostas Mitroglou hat-trick handed the hosts a handy 3-1 lead. In Bucharest a 1-1 draw ensured Greece would take their place at world football’s top table in 2014.
In a record for the Greeks this is their second consecutive World Cup appearance after failing to appear at France 98. In 2010 in South Africa, the Mediterranean nation also reached the event via a play-off. After seeing off Ukraine over two legs, the Southern Europeans found themselves in Group B with Argentina, Nigeria and South Korea. After going down 2-0 to the Koreans, Greece bounced back with a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph over Nigeria; their first ever FIFA World Cup™ win before falling to the Argentines and returning home.
Captain Giorgos Karagounis remains the dominant figure in the Greek line-up while the likes of forwards Mitroglou and Dimitrios Salpingidis will certainly play an essential role and provide coach Fernando Santos with a wide array of options. The Hellenic Republic will fancy their chances of reaching the Last 16 for the first time in 2014.