Greece – Qualification for Italia ’90


Greece were the lowest ranked team (4th) in qualification Group 1 for the 1990 World Cup, but still enjoyed a quite decent campaign for the latest Euros, where they had finished ahead of Hungary and Poland, only second to Netherlands. No need to dismiss the Greeks before the qualifiers.

Miltos Papapostolou had now been manager for the national team since 7 March 1984, and was about to guide the Greeks in his third consecutive qualification campaign. In his fifth year at the helm, he had already surpassed Alketas Panagoulias as the longest serving manager for the national team (a record now belonging to Otto Rehhagel).


31.08.1988 East Germany 1-0 Greece
Line-up: Talikriadis – Georgamlis, Mavridis, Tsaloukhidis, Kolomitrousis – Kanaras, Bonovas, Mitropoulos (Karapialis 81), Kofidis – Saravakos, Anastopoulos (c) (Dimitriadis 83)

Qualifier 1
19.10.1988 Greece 1-1 Denmark
Goal: Mitropoulos
Line-up (5-3-2): Talikriadis – Khatziathanasiou, Manolas, Mavridis, Tsaloukhidis, Kolomitrousis – Mitropoulos (Georgamlis 60), Skartados (Karapialis 76), Bonovas – Saravakos, Anastopoulos (c)
A battling display ensured that the hosts left the field of play with a deserved point. They had gone in front through a fine headed goal by midfield man Mitropoulos before the break, but they conceded possession in the second half as the visitors fought their way back into the game

21.09.1988 Turkey 3-1 Greece
Goal: Anastopoulos
Line-up: Sarganis (Talikriadis h-t) – Khatziathanasiou, Mavridis, Manolas, Kolomitrousis – Skartados, Tsaloukhidis, Mitropoulos (Mihos 73), Nioplias (Tsiolis 73) – Saravakos, Anastopoulos (c)

Qualifier 2
02.11.1988 Romania 3-0 Greece
Line-up: Talikriadis – Khatziathanasiou, Mavridis, Manolas, Kolomitrousis – Bonovas, Tsaloukhidis, Mitropoulos (Koutoulas h-t), Tsiantakis (Nioplias 68) – Saravakos, Anastopoulos (c)

15.11.1988 Greece 3-0 Hungary
Goals: Lagonidis, Tsaloukhidis (2)
Line-up: Gitsioudis (Oikonomopoulos 78) – Khatziathanasiou, Koutoulas, Vakalopoulos, Kolomitrousis – Lagonidis (G Papadopoulos 82), Tsaloukhidis (c), Nioplias, Tsiantakis (Bonovas 82) – Borbokis (Dimitriadis 82), Karasavvidis (Kavouras 74)
This was Alekos Sofianidis’ first match in charge. In an inexperienced line-up, only defenders Kolomitrousis and Tsaloukhidis, as well as midfielder Bonovas, were in double appearance figures. The game also saw the debut of no less than four Greek players, albeit only Iraklis midfielder Giorgos Papadopoulos would feature during the qualification for Italia ’90

18.01.1989 Albania 1-1 Greece
Goal: Tsiantakis
Line-up: Oikonomopoulos – Apostolakis, Mavridis, Koutoulas (G Papadopoulos 53), Khatziathanasiou – Lagonidis (Kavouras 57), Tsaloukhidis (c), Nioplias, Tsiantakis (Oikonomidis 87) – Borbokis, Karasavvidis (Kalogeropoulos 69)
Defenders Mavridis and Apostolakis were the most experienced this time around, and Tsaloukhidis featured as captain. There had been two further debutants, neither of whom would be featuring in the qualification. Olympiakos midfielder Tsiantakis got his first international goal

25.01.1989 Greece 1-2 Portugal
Goal: Borbokis
Line-up: Oikonomopoulos – Apostolakis, Mavridis (c) (Vakalopoulos h-t), Manolas (Koutoulas h-t), Khatziathanasiou – Borbokis, Tsaloukhidis (Maragkos 70), Nioplias, Tsiantakis – Kalogeropoulos (Kavouras 70), Samaras
This time around, defender Manolas was by far the most capped player with his 36, and three other experienced defensive players were also present in Apostolakis, Mavridis and Tsaloukhidis. PAOK’s Borbokis got his first international goal in his fourth match

08.02.1989 Greece 1-2 England
Goal: Saravakos (pen.)
Line-up: Oikonomopoulos – Khatziathanasiou (Manolas 72), Mavridis, Kallitzakis, Koutoulas – Lagonidis (Borbokis 39), Tsaloukhidis, Nioplias, Tsiantakis – Saravakos (c), Samaras (Kalogeropoulos h-t)
Saravakos was back in the side, and it was his goal from the spot that gave the Greeks 1-0 in the first minute. The visitors had arrived with a more or less full strength team, and would turn the game around. Ikonomopoulos was about to establish himself as first choice goalkeeper

22.02.1989 Greece 4-2 Norway
Goals: Samaras, Vakalopoulos, Tsaloukhidis, Saravakos
Line-up (4-4-2): Gitsioudis – Apostolakis, Koutoulas (Vakalopoulos 55), Kallitzakis, Khatziathanasiou – Oikonomidis, Tsaloukhidis, Nioplias (Kavouras 59), Maragkos – Saravakos (c), Samaras
There was a paltry 994 spectators for this one. Forwards Samaras and Saravakos got a goal each, and there was another apiece for defensive players Tsaloukhidis and Vakalopoulos. Panathinaikos full-back Khatziathanasiou was well established in the team by now. Sofianidis tested a few players, but few staked positive claims.

08.03.1989 Greece 3-2 East Germany
Goals: Saravakos 2, Wahl (own goal)
Line-up (4-4-2): Oikonomopoulos – Apostolakis, Manolas (Koutoulas h-t (Vakalopoulos 80)), Kallitzakis, Khatziathanasiou – Bonovas, Tsaloukhidis, Nioplias, Tsiantakis (Maragkos 87) – Saravakos (c), Kavouras (Borbokis 82)
Yet again an appalling attendance figure: 933 had paid to watch! Saravakos scored twice, and there was an East German own goal as well. The experienced Manolas was back in the team

29.03.1989 Greece 0-1 Turkey
Line-up (4-4-2): Oikonomopoulos – Apostolakis, Mavridis, Kallitzakis, Khatziathanasiou – Bonovas (Georgakopoulos 52), Tsaloukhidis, Nioplias (Tountziaris 52), Tsiantakis (Borbokis 79) – Saravakos (c), Samaras
This was a fifth successive defeat against Greece’ arch rivals in what was only their fifth ever meeting. At least more than 4000 came to watch, but the national team holds scant appeal to the people. There were a couple of further debuts, though neither would be featuring during the qualification. The match was also Sofianidis’ last in charge

05.04.1989 Greece 1-4 Yugoslavia
Goal: Mitropoulos
Line-up (4-5-1): Oikonomopoulos (Sarganis h-t) – Apostolakis, Mavridis (Koutoulas h-t), Kallitzakis, Khatziathanasiou – Borbokis, Mitropoulos (c), Tsaloukhidis, Georgakopoulos (Savvidis 62), Tsiantakis – Samaras (Vakalopoulos h-t)
In Georgiadis’ first match in charge, Greece lost heavily to a solid opponent. Midfielder Mitropoulos played in his first international since the 3-0 defeat in Romania, and won his 60th cap. He also got the Greek equalizer for 1-1. Tsaloukhidis had been Georgiadis’ first captain. Conceded three late goals.

Report – Summary of winter and spring friendlies

Qualifier 3
26.04.1989 Greece 0-0 Romania
Line-up (4-5-1): Oikonomopoulos – Apostolakis, Mavridis, Manolas, Khatziathanasiou – Saravakos (c), G Papadopoulos (Bonovas 66), Tsaloukhidis, Savvidis, Tsiantakis – Samaras
Despite being on the back foot for an hour, Greece managed to salvage a point. There was a great improvement for the final half hour, when the home side had even threatened to score the winning goal. Midfielder Savvidis had his first taste of qualifying action to replace his suspended Olympiakos team mate Mitropoulos

Qualifier 4
17.05.1989 Denmark 7-1 Greece
Goal: Mavridis
Line-up (4-4-2): Oikonomopoulos – Apostolakis (Savvidis h-t), Mavridis, Manolas, Khatziathanasiou – G Papadopoulos, Tsaloukhidis, Mitropoulos (c) (Kallitzakis 50), Tsiantakis – Saravakos, Samaras
Georgiadis had picked some tough tackling tactics, and this would eventually seal their fate, as Manolas saw his second yellow at 2-1 down early in the second half. The Greek more or less gave up as the goals kept coming, but they were up against quality opposition, so even at full strength they would not have returned with much

23.08.1989 Norway 0-0 Greece
Line-up: Oikonomopoulos – Apostolakis, Mavridis, Manolas, Khatziathanasiou – Bonovas, Tsaloukhidis, Savvidis (Stamatis 86), Kofidis (Tsiantakis 86) – Saravakos (c), Samaras (Dimopoulos 72)

05.09.1989 Poland 3-0 Greece
Line-up: Oikonomopoulos (Plitsis h-t) – Agoroyiannis, Kallitzakis, Apostolakis (c), Khatziathanasiou (Alexiou h-t) – Mitsibonas, Tsaloukhidis (Karageorgiou h-t), Savvidis, Kofidis (Maragkos h-t) – Saravakos (Dimitriadis h-t), Dimopoulos

20.09.1989 Yugoslavia 3-0 Greece
Line-up (4-4-2): Plitsis – Agoroyiannis (Alexiou h-t), Mavridis, Vakalopoulos, Apostolakis – Stamatis, Mitsibonas, Savvidis (Karageorgiou 18), Kofidis (Adamopoulos 65) – Saravakos (c), Maragkos
Greece fell two goals behind quickly, and honestly, they were never in with a chance against a far superior Yugoslavia, who drifted in and out of the game, something which was to the Greek’s rescue. Otherwise, the victory of margin could’ve been greater, even if Saravakos (twice) and Kofidis had first half opportunities. The second half saw little pace and not a whole lot of quality, but Greece conceded again ten minutes from time. Apostolakis should’ve walked for trying to trip the referee over after Yugoslavia had been awarded a penalty late in the first half (which they missed).

Qualifier 5
11.10.1989 Bulgaria 4-0 Greece
Line-up (4-4-2): Plitsis – Khatziathanasiou, Mavridis, Vakalopoulos, Koutoulas – Tsiantakis, Papaiouannou, Stamatis (Nioplias 69), Kofidis – Saravakos (c), Dimitriadis
In a somewhat ill-tempered match played in horrible conditions on a dreadfully heavy pitch, Greece suffer four goals in the final 20 minutes to lose heavily on the road yet again. There’s little credit to take back to Greece after having three players sent off in the second half, even if the inconsistent referee hardly helps proceedings. These wholesale changes had brought little fortune. Now Greece were favourites to finish bottom of the group.

25.10.1989 Hungary 1-1 Greece
Goal: Borbokis
Line-up: T Papadopoulos (c) – Karageorgiou, Khatzimoysiadis, Deliyiannis, Moustakidis – Vouturitsas (Vlahos 89), D Papadopoulos, Nioplias, Maragkos (Tsifoutis 86) – Borbokis, Dimitriadis (Zakkas h-t)

Qualifier 6
15.11.1989 Greece 1-0 Bulgaria
Goal: Nioplias
Line-up: T Papadopoulos – Karageorgiou, Manolas, Deliyiannis, Moustakidis – Vouturitsas, D Papadopoulos (Alexiou 76), Nioplias, Maragkos – Borbokis, Samaras (Stamatis 29)

48 players appeared in Greece’ 15 internationals during the calendar year of 1989


Final position: 3 (out of 4)
Total record: 6 1 2 3 3-15 4
Home record: 3 1 2 0 2-1 4
Away record: 3 0 0 3 1-14 0

Player statistics

Number of players used:
Number of players including unused substitutes:
Ever-presents (540 mins):
Leading goalscorer:
Yellow/red cards:

– overview

Mavridis, Kostas554501
Khatziathanasiou, Iakovos554413/1
Saravakos, Dimitris554320/1
Manolas, Stelios554140/1
Tsaloukhidis, Giotis443601/0
Tsiantakis, Nikos44339
Papadopoulos, Georgis332301/0
Samaras, Giannis33210
Bonovas, Andreas3211204
Anastopoulos, Nikos221801/0
Oikonomopoulos, Spyros22180
Kolomitrousos, Kostas22180
Talikriadis, Ilias22180
Mitropoulos, Tasos3315512/0
Apostolakis, Stratos22135
Koutoulas, Giorgos211135
Stamatis, Stavros211128
Nioplias, Nikos21111111
Dimitriadis, Vasilis11290
Kofidis, Savvas1190
Papadopoulos, Theolakis11190
Plitsis, Giorgos11390
Savvidis, Elias2111135
Karageorgiou, Nikos1190
Moustakidis, Charalabos11901/0
Deliyiannis, Thomas1190
Borbokis, Stefanos1190
Vouturitsas, Theodoros1190
Maragkos, Spyros1190
Papaioannou, Pavlos11801/0
Skartados, Giorgos1180
Vakalopoulos, Pagonis11510/1
Kallitzakis, Giannis1140
Georgamlis, Lisandros111301/0
Agorogiannis, Giorgos1122
Alexiou, Alexis11114
Karapialis, Vassilios1110
Papadopoulos, Daniel1110
Dimopoulos, Athanes2
Galitsios, Gianis1
Gitsioudis, Giannis1
Michos, Petros1
Sarganis, Nikos1
Zakas, Theodoros1
Missing data: one unused substitute from Bulgaria-Greece.

– game by game

– ratings


17.01.1990 Greece 2-0 Belgium
Goals: Tsaloukhidis, Apostolakis
Line-up: Sarganis – Apostolakis, Manolas, Kallitzakis, Leontiadis (Koutoulas h-t) – Borbokis, Tsaloukhidis, Stamatis (Tsifoutis 76), Tsiantakis – Saravakos (c), Maragkos (Karataidis 80)

28.03.1990 Greece 2-1 Israel
Goals: Manolas 2
Line-up: Plitsis – Apostolakis (Karageorgiou 61), Manolas, Kallitzakis, Karataidis (Koutoulas 61) – Borbokis (Samaras 61), Tsaloukhidis, Nioplias (Tsekos 70), Tsiantakis – Saravakos (c) (Zakkas 61), Maragkos (Kourbanas 79)

30.05.1990 Italy 0-0 Greece
Line-up: T Papadopoulos – Apostolakis, Manolas, Kallitzakis, G Papadopoulos – Borbokis (Samaras 71), Tsaloukhidis, Nioplias, Toursounidis (Tsiantakis 59) – Saravakos (c), Maragkos (Kofidis 77)