Joy, sadness, qualifications, eliminations, and goals. The November international break was action-packed and full of emotions for PAOK’s international players. Paokfc.gr brings you a review of how our players did.
Greece finished third place in their World Cup qualifying group behind Spain and Sweden and missed out on the opportunity to qualify for next year’s showpiece. Alexandros Paschalakis watched from the bench for both the 1-0 home defeat by Spain and the 1-1 draw with Kosovo at the OAKA.
Serbia qualified automatically for the World Cup finals thanks to a late winner against Portugal. The Serbs prevailed 2-1 to book their spot in Qatar. Andrija Zivkovic started the match against the Iberians, while he also took part in the friendly against Qatar in Belgrade.
Poland will have to book their ticket for the World Cup through the playoffs after their final grou matches. Karol Swiderski starred for the Poles, the PAOK forward scoring the only goal in the 2-1 home defeat by Hungary, while he also played in the second half of the 4-1 win over Andorra.
Jasmin Kurtic missed Slovenia’s 2-2 draw with Slovakia due to suspension, but he started the 2-1 win over Cyprus. The Slovenians did not have a chance to qualify in any case.
There was elimination for Enea Mihaj’s Albania as well. The Albanians were defeated 5-0 by England away from home, with the PAOK stopper coming off the bench at half-time, while Mihaj started the 1-0 victory over Andorra in their final group game.
The Greece Under-21s took an important step to qualifying for the European Championship by beating Iceland 1-0 courtesy of a converted by Giannis Michailidis. That win was preceded by a victory over Belarus (2-0). In both games, PAOK trio Tsingaras, Michailidis and Lyratzis started, while Tsaousis was an unused substitute.
The Greek Under-19 team was unfortunately eliminated in the 2nd qualifying group after losing 1-0 to Russia, drawing with Faroe Islands (0-0) and also being held by Germany (1-1). The goal in the game against the Germans was scored by PAOK’s Giorgos Koutsias from the penalty spot. Koulierakis, Koutsias and Koutentakis all started for their country in the games against Russia and Germany, while in the match against the Faroe Islands, Koutentakis came off the bench.
Ismahila Ouédraogo watched from the bench as an unused substitute Burkina Faso’s games with Niger and Algeria for World Cup qualification. Unfortunately the PAOK B midfielder’s country failed to qualify.
As for Gustavo Varela, he celebrated the Portuguese Under-17 team’s qualification to the Elite Round of the European Championship with two victories in their group (5-0 over Kazakhstan and 2-0 against Wales). In both games, Varela was used as a substitute. In the third game, the Portuguese lost 3-2 to Ukraine.