The single most talked about thing regarding the Greek national team in international tournaments since 2004 is how they came out of nowhere and won Euro 2004, defeating hosts Portugal in the final. Ten years later, and it’s pretty much the only thing that non-Greek or Greece fans (they exist) can mention. I won’t surprise you.
It’s easy to talk about that Greek team because even though a decade has passed, they still play in a very similar style. Who can blame them? They don’t have the talent to compete with the footballing superpowers. They won the way Greece was going to win, and after proving that it could be done, they'll continue to play that way. Will they make it all the way and beat Brazil in Brazil the same way they beat Portugal in Portugal? Unlikely. But no one counted on it happening in 2004, either.
Torosidis came to Rome last January and for the sake of my mood I’m going to skip the rest of that season because it never really happened. Right, so we all know how Vasilis performed this season. He started off as the back up to Maicon but eventually gained more and more minutes eventually becoming Roma’s starting leftback when Federico Balzaretti went down due to injury. In a lot of ways, Vasilis’ quality is overshadowed by other players and his value is underappreciated.
"He is an experienced player and has spent a long time playing for the best team in Greece, Olympiakos. He played over three hundred league matches for them as well as quite a few appearances in European competition and for Greece. I'm grateful to him for choosing Roma over the other offers he received.
"What memories do I have of him? One above all else. When he made a major contribution to beating Lazio and eliminating them from the Champions League here in the Stadio Olimpico a few years back."
Caps: 66 Goals: 7
Service for Greece
Torosidis made his debut for Greece in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Turkey, eventually becoming the national team’s starting left back (despite playing right back for Olympiakos). Although he’s turned into more of a bench player at Roma, Vasilis is an undisputed starter for his national team.
His last major goal for Greece was at the last World Cup where he scored the winning goal against Nigeria in Greece’s only victory in the group stage. For the record, he was a midfielder in that match. Unfortunately, more recently, the most memorable goal was his own goal in the second leg of the 2014 World Cup qualifying play-off against Romania.
What makes him interesting
Honestly? Not much. He’s an effective player who is extremely consistent. He’s versatile enough to play on either flank or even in midfield and his time at Roma has shown that he’s professional enough to accept a less important squad role than he’s used to with Greece and his former club.
In his presentation conference last year, he won me over with this quote alone. I think we were still in a Europa League place at the time, although we were definitely floundering.
"A club like Roma shouldn't be aiming to play Europa League football. Champions League is more their style."
Happy belated birthday to Vasilis! He actually turned 29 yesterday (as of this writing). Buon compleanno!
What to expect in Brazil
Greece finished second in their qualifying group behind Mire Pjanic’s Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were actually tied for points but because the Greeks could only manage 12 goals for in the 10 matches (they only conceded 4, if it counts for anything), they had to settle for a play-off with Romania where they won 4-2 on aggregate.
The Greeks are expected to play their now typical rugged and resolute defensive style in Brazil. In Group C, they will face Columbia, Japan & Gervinho’s Côte d'Ivoire. It’s considered a tough group where anyone could qualify or go home. This will be Greece’s third trip to the World Cup (1994, 2010) and they’ve never made it out of their group yet. They’ll do well to do it this year and it’ll be miraculous if they go any further, just don’t count on it happening.