PAOK internationals: Calls & fixtures
Fernando Varela and Ergys Kaçe return to their national sides for October’s international games. The last two matchdays of the European qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup steal the show. PAOK’s internationals are in action and paokfc.gr brings you their fixtures.
Aleksandar Prijović has become a regular for the Serbia national team. The PAOK forward, after lining up some excellent performances and crucial goals for the “Double-Headed Eagle”, has been called by Slavoljub Muslin for the away encounter against Austria (6 October) and the home game vs Georgia (9 October). The Serbians lead the standings, four points clear of second-placed Wales and need just two points in their remaining fixtures to secure top spot and direct qualification to the upcoming World Cup finals.
Gojko Cimirot has been called in the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team for the matches against Belgium (Sarajevo, 7 October) and Estonia (Tallinn, 10 October). The Bosnians have made the most of Greece’s poor tally of just one point from September’s qualifiers and have the upper hand for a place in November’s play-offs. Their clash against already-qualified Belgium could hold the key for the final standings in the group.
Slovakia are favourites to finish second in their group, as they have one point more than third-placed Slovenia. Róbert Mak will be on board when they travel to Scotland (5 October) and when they take on Malta at home (8 October).
Ergys Kaçe returns to the national team of Albania, as he convinced Christian Panucci with his performances at PAOK in the start of the season. Only a miracle can help the Albanians. They need to win both their matches against powerhouses Spain (away on 6 October) and Italy (at home on 9 October) and hope that FYROM defeat the Italians. Only such a far-fetched scenario could secure them second place of the standings and a place in the play-offs.
Fernando Varela is also making his comeback to international football. He has joined the Cape Verde national squad for their home encounter against Senegal (7 October). Capo Verde lead the group standings, level on points with Burkina Faso, and their dream of a first-ever participation in the World Cup finals is edging closer than ever.
Many PAOK players joined youth national sides this week. Panagiotis Deligiannidis and Efthymis Koulouris were called by Antonis Nikopolidis for the two away encounters of Greece U21s in the 2019 U21 Euro qualifying stage against Moldova and San Marino. The Greek side won both their matches in September’s first two matchdays and aim to add two more victories to their tally, before they take on mighty Czech Republic and Croatia later on. Dimitris Limnios was also extended a call initially, but had to decline due to an iliopsoas muscle injury.
Four PAOK players have joined Greece’s U19 squad. Marios Siampanis, Kostas Dimitriou, Konstantinos Chatzidimpas and Giorgos Tzovaras will participate in the friendly matches against Slovakia and Czech Republic, to be held on Slovakian soil 5 and 9 October respectively. Meletis Mišković is already preparing with Serbia U19 for their first two matches in the 2018 UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying stage against Azerbaijan and the Republic of Ireland.