After faring poorly in the last European soccer championship, Greece has a far easier field for opening round of the 2016 tourney, providing a better chance to advance deeper.
Instead of facing perennial powerhouses such as Portugal, Italy, Spain and England, Greece’s competition will come from teams far down in the rankings: Hungary, Romania, Finland, Northern Ireland and the Faroe Islands.
“Not so good, not so bad,” was the diplomatic comment on the draw by Greece manager Fernando Santos. “All teams are dangerous,” he also said, wary not to be overconfident.
It’s not certain he would even be still with the team by then as he hasn’t yet accepted an offer from the Greek federation on an extension to his contract beyond the World Cup finals this summer.
Since shocking the soccer world by winning the 2004 European championship with some miraculous play, Greece has foundered badly since then in following tourneys, particularly on offense.
In Euro 2016, the top two of each group and the best third-placed team advance directly to the finals to be held in France, while the other third-placed teams from the nine groups will face a play-off.
There will be 24 teams in the field. The first round of games will be on September 7-9, 2014 to begin determining who will be in the finals two years later.