Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Cyprus and Greece, the two neighbouring countries, face each other at AEK Arena in the Nations League round 5. The Cypriotes are stuck at the bottom with only two points in their pocket, and, no doubt, they are desperate to record their first triumph of the process. The bad news for the hosts is that Andronikos Kakoullis, who scored a brace in a 2-2 draw with Northern Ireland, has withdrawn with injury.
The Greeks, on the other hand, aim to keep their 100% record in Group 2 intact. The visitors, though, are six points clear of second-place Kosovo, meaning that they would be happy with one point from Saturday’s derby as well. Both Mantalos and Giakoumakis are pushing for a start after the duo got their names on the scoresheet in the 2-0 victory over Kosovo. The bad news for the visitors is that AZ Alkmaar striker Vangelis Pavlidis misses out with injury.
Highlighted Player (Georgios Efrem):
Born in Limassol, Cyprus on 5 July, 1989 Georgios Efrem played for his hometown club Apollon Limassol during his youth career, but in 2004 he joined Premier League club Arsenal at the age of 15. In 2007 he moved to Rangers, but he didn’t see any game action with the Gers at senior level.
The pacey winger, who is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder as well, returned to Cyprus in 2009, signing a deal with Omonia. After scoring 25 goals in 134 league appearances for the club, the 171-cm-tall footballer joined fellow Cypriot outfit APOEL on 6 June, 2014. Efrem made his debut for the club against Helsinki on 30 July, 2014 in the Europa League qualifying match.
It has to be noted that he was named the best player of the 2015/2016 Cypriot First Division campaign. The APOEL winger made his Cyprus debut on 3 March, 2010 in a goalless draw with Iceland. Four years later he scored his first ever hat-trick for the Cypriot national team in a 5-0 triumph over Andorra.
Highlighted Team (Greece):
Former European champions Greece played their first official match on April 7, 1929, with the team suffering a heavy 4-1 loss to Italy in Athens. The Greeks booked their place at the FIFA World Cup finals in 1994 for the first time ever, but they failed to impress at the showpiece tournament in United States of America.
The Galanolefki were eliminated in the group stages of the 2010 FIFA World Cup as well, but they made it to the knockout stages of the tournament in Brazil four years later. However, the Greeks were more than unfortunate not to book their place in the quarter-finals as they were beaten by Costa Rica on penalties. However, Greece did remarkably well to win the 2004 European Championship and that is considered the national team’s biggest success.
Otto Rehhagel outplayed the likes of France and Czech Republic in the knockout stages to set up a meeting with hosts Portugal in the title game. Thanks to Angelos Charisteas’ goal 12 minutes into the second half Greece won the European Championship.