14 October 2031
All eyes turn to Croatia as the Greek Under 21’s seek to secure a place in the UEFA Under 21 Championships. The Croatians are the favoured side so Mr BadDragoon will have his work cut out for him here.
~Swammy Weebling, FM Sky Sports England
These are the players I have picked to get us to the Under 21 Euro’s.
We have a good array of quality up top, with Stavrakakis being the pick of the litter. One area of concern is our keeper situation where we have one player of quality and two very average back-up players.
UEFA U-21 Qualifiers Playoff Leg 1 v Croatia
We are home in the first leg, so denying away goals will be key. The bookies don’t favour us so we will require a bit of luck.
This is the lineup I have decided to go with. “Pita” takes the armband as we go with a 4-2-3-1 for the match.
The early part of the game is all Croatia, and it is no surprise that they get the opening goal. It comes by way of their striker Barbaric who takes the offered chance fairly easily.
Croatia doubles their lead after 36 minutes. Papadopoulos does well to save the first effort from Radetic however the ball drops for Svetopetric who put the chance away.
Another goal was always coming and it took a howler from the keeper who butchered a misplaced long range free-kick. That could be the tie over.
Neochoritis bags a late consolation goal with some 8 minutes to play. The gulf between the two sides is obvious and Croatia have been good for their three goals.
While the stats looked pretty even, we were comprehensively defeated. The three away goals are a killer and have almost guaranteed them qualification.
UEFA U-21 Qualifiers Playoff Leg 2 v Croatia
There is no denying that we are up against it here. Not only do we have to overturn a two goal lead, we have to deal with the opposition having three away goals. I am realistic in my expectations ab believe that this will be a tough assignment.
I revert back to a 4-3-3. Chortsas is suspended and is replaced by Tzifoulis. Neochoritis replaces Angolis and Tsabouris comes in at the back for Salpingidis.
First chance of the game falls to Barbaric, but Papadopolous is up to the task. Giakoumelos goes close on 10 mins but can’t beat the keeper. Unfortunately we keep conceding fouls in dangerous positions, and from one of these Pletikosa scrambles home the ball to score the opening goal of the game.
That goal didn’t change much – we still need four goals to advance. However we have not looked likely to score one. Much work is needed in the remaining 45 minutes.
We were totally toothless in the second half and failed to create a single chance. Just like that our campaign is over with a whimper.
This is how the playoffs finished up. Croatia, England, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Turkey will join host nation Portugal in the event proper.
I have decided to resign my position as Greek manager and focus my attention on the Pro Vercelli side. I have no regrets about my decision to manage Greece. I just didn’t enjoy the experience as much as I thought I would. My final record stands at one win from four matches.
We are back to the Serie A, where Provercelli takes on Lazio, Avellino, Atalanta and finally Cagliari. This is where the grind starts. The early games are out of the way and it now a case of accumulating points and trying not to suffer too many defeats.