World Cup: Fulham duo Konstantinos Mitroglu, Giorgos Karagounis headline initial Greece squad
Four-year reigning Greek Super League champions Olympiakos and runners-up PAOK have contributed a whopping 11 members of the 29-man provisional World Cup roster announced by Greece on Wednesday.
Defensive continuity is important for the stingy Mediterranean side, who allowed just four goals in 10 UEFA qualifying matches. Five of the nine defenders selected by Greece's Portuguese coach, Fernando Santos, hail from Olympiakos, who reached the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League before falling to Manchester United.
Veteran captain Giorgos Karagounis, who plays his club soccer in England with Fulham, spearheads the Greek midfield. His Fulham teammate Konstantinos Mitroglou (pictured) struggled with injuries and form this season but led his country with five goals during World Cup qualification.
Celtic FC mainstay Giorgios Samaras provides another option for Santos up top, while center back Sokratis Papastathopoulos has made major strides as a regular for Germany's Borussia Dortmund this past season.
The 2004 European champions failed to escape the group stage at their last two World Cup appearances, USA 1994 and South Africa 2010, but may fancy their chances of advancement out of Group C in Brazil this summer. Greece meet Colombia in Belo Horizonte in their tournament opener on June 14, then face Japan in Natal five days later. Santos & Co. close out the group stage with a match against Ivory Coast in Fortaleza on June 24.
Greece will travel to the United States before the tournament as part of the Road to Brazil series, playing Nigeria on June 3 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. (tickets), and taking on Bolivia on June 6 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. (tickets).
Alexandros Tzorvas (Apollon Smyrnis - Greece / 31yrs)
Michalis Sifakis (Atromitos - Greece / 29yrs)
Orestis Karnezis (Granada - Spain / 28yrs)
Panaglotis Glykos (PAOK - Greece / 27yrs)
Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos - Greece /20yrs )
Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos - Greece / 30yrs)
Dimitris Siovas (Olympiakos - Greece / 25yrs)
Kostas Manolas (Olympiakos - Greece / 22yrs)
Giannis Maniatis (Olympiakos - Greece / 27rs)
Jose Holebas (Olympiakos - Greece / 29yrs)
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund - Germany / 25yrs)
Giorgios Tzavellas (PAOK - Greece / 26yrs)
Loukas Vyntra (Levante - Spain / 33yrs)
Vasilis Torosidis (Roma - Italy / 28yrs)
Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor - Turkey / 29yrs)
Andreas Samaris (Olympiakos - Greece / 24yrs)
Kostas Katsouranis (PAOK - Greece / 34yrs)
Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham - England / 37yrs)
Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Torino - Italy / 23yrs)
Sotiris Ninis (PAOK - Greece / 24yrs)
Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa - Italy / 23yrs)
Kostas Fortounis (Kaiserslautern - Greece / 21yrs)
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna - Italy / 27yrs)
Panagiotis Kone (Bologna - Italy / 26yrs)
Dimitris Papadopoulos (Atromitos - Greece / 32yrs)
Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK - Greece / 32yrs)
Giorgios Samaras (Celtic - Scotland / 29yrs)
Konstantinos Mitroglou (Fulham - England / 26yrs)
Theofanis Gekas (Konyaspor - Turkey / 33yrs)